Authorities have warned people two days ago about the Pabuk storm that was about to hit Thailand’s islands, then they went on to suspend all flights and ferry rides ahead of the storm expected on Friday.
The storm eventually started around 3:30 pm local time, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, and wind speeds managed to reach 95 kilometers per hour. The islands most affected by the storm as it progresses will be Koh Samui, Koh Phangan, Koh Tao, as well as Phuket and Koh Phi Phi.
It is extremely uncommon for tropical storms and typhoons to hit Thailand, the last tropical storm to make landfall in Thailand was in 1962, while the only typhoon ever to happen in the region was in 1989.
Officials of Koh Samui said that there are 20,000 tourists staying on the island and that there is enough food and supplies to last through the storm. However, those on smaller islands are the most vulnerable, like on Koh Phangan, where there are approximately 15,000 tourists, and Koh Tao, where thre are about 4,000.
It seems that torrential downpours have already registered up to 200 millimeters (nearly 8 inches) of rain in some areas, while areas in the southern parts of Thailand could get well over 250 millimeters (10 inches) of rain. Also, according to the Meteorological Department, strong winds on Thailand’s gulf coast could bring waves of up to 3-5 meters (10-16 ft).