Bangkok, Jan 4 (IANS) About 7,000 people were moved to evacuation centres as Storm Pabuk struck the Thai province of Nakhon Si Thammarat on Friday, officials said.
Authorities were trying to evacuate 80,000 people in the province, Nakhon Si Thammarat’s Secretary of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department, Udomporn Kan, told Efe news.
The storm affected some of the islands most popular with tourists in the country, where flights and ferries have been cancelled since Thursday.
According to the Thai Meteorology Department, Pabuk was advancing faster than anticipated and made landfall at 12.45 p.m. in Nakhon Si Thammarat with sustained winds of 75 km per hour.
The storm was expected to affect much of Thailand’s southern coast until Saturday with heavy rainfall and the threat of flash floods or landslides.
Ferry services to the tourist islands of Samui, Tao and Phangan were cancelled and local authorities prepared an evacuation plan in the face of flooding.
Bangkok Airways announced the cancellation of all flights to and from Samui airport. Low-cost airlines such as Air Asia and Nok Air also announced the cancellation of services.
The winds could create waves of up to 5 metres high in the Gulf and flood part of the coastline, according to experts.
Several small fishing villages ceased their activities due to the storm, which will affect the region until Saturday.