Tropical Storm Pabuk hits southern Thailand's east coast

Tropical Storm Pabuk made landfall on southern Thailand’s east coast with heavy rain and strong winds, impacting local coastal villages and tourism resorts.

Tropical Storm Pabuk hits southern Thailand's east coast

Tropical Storm Pabuk hits southern Thailand's east coast

According to the national meteorological department, the storm – with maximum sustained winds of 70km per hour (kph) – hit the shore of Nakhon Si Thammarat province and headed westward at 20kph.

The department also warned local residents of heavy rain, flooding, and flash floods in the area throughout the night of January 4.

Torrential rain and strong winds were forecast to affect more than a dozen other provinces, including Nakon Si Thammarat and Surat Thani which are home to the tourist islands of Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, and Koh Tao that are expected to be the hardest hit.

Earlier on January 4, the department said that waves 3-5m high might be formed in the Gulf of Thailand on the east coast, and 2-5m high in the Andaman Sea on the west coast. It recommended all ships stay berthed on land throughout the next day.

Authorities in Nakhon Si Thammarat, about 800km south of Bangkok, had urged locals to evacuate. Thai authorities suspended ferry services in the Gulf of Thailand and flights to Nakhon Si Thammarat and Koh Samui were cancelled.

The storm is feared to be the worst to hit Thailand since 1989, when Typhoon Gay left more than 400 people dead.

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