Tropical Storm Pabuk made landfall around 12:00 (local time) on Friday, January 4, in the southern Thai province of Surat Thani. As of midday on Friday, the storm had sustained winds of 75 km/h (47 mph) and had brought torrential rain to southern parts of the country, including many resort islands and tourist destinations. As of Friday, 5-10 cm (2-4 in) of rainfall was recorded in southern Thailand with a possible 25 cm (10 in) of total rainfall forecast in some areas from Thursday, January 3, to Saturday, January 5. At least two people were killed as of Friday, including one tourist in Koh Samui who drowned in high surf. Another person is missing and at least 6,000 residents in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Pattani, Songkhla, and Yala provinces have been evacuated to higher ground. However, no major material damages have been reported as of Friday. Continued heavy rain is forecast on Saturday and consequent flooding is possible in the coming days.
Surat Thani International Airport (URT) is reportedly closed until Saturday; Nakhon Si Thammarat Airport (NST) and Samui Airport (USM), serving Koh Samui (Surat Thani province), were also closed on Friday. Phuket International Airport (HKT) has remained open, though at least 16 flight delays and cancelations were reported as of Friday. Further transportation disruptions, including flight delays and cancelations, are possible over the coming days.
Tropical Storm Pabuk, also known as Usman, passed through the Philippines last week, leaving at least 122 people dead. Pabuk is the second tropical storm to hit Thailand since 1989.
Individuals in the affected areas are advised to monitor local weather reports, adhere to instructions issued by local authorities, anticipate strong winds, heavy rain, flooding, and associated disruptions (e.g. road closures, port and airport closures). Remember that walking or driving through moving water can be dangerous - 15 cm (6 in) of running water is enough to knock over an adult - and that floodwater can contain wastewater and chemical products; all items having come into contact with floodwater should be disinfected and all foodstuffs discarded.
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