There is a forecast that tropical storm Pabuk is on its way to strike Thailand and will bring with it heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds and nearly 22-foot waves. This has got the tourists worried because Thailand is a major tourist destination and arrivals peak during Christmas and New Year season. Hence, thousands of tourists in the Thai resort islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao left before Pabuk struck.

The Guardian reports about the mass exodus with tourists heading for the mainland in ferries. The authorities have banned swimming and boats will suspend services.

There is no official evacuation order but outsiders do not want to take any chances. The district chief of Koh Phangnan estimates that “30,000 to 50,000 have left since the New Year’s Eve countdown parties.” T

Tropical storm Pabuk could wreak havoc

Thailand could experience winds of 65 mph due to tropical storm Pabuk. However, the Met department has ruled out possibilities of it becoming a typhoon. There could be high waves of up to 20 feet near the eye of the storm. This might pose problems because the waves are normally six to seven feet high in the Gulf of Thailand.

Koh Tao is one of Southeast Asia’s finest diving spots and its acting mayor said boats leaving for the mainland were crammed with tourists, but many have stayed back.

Authorities have made provisions for shelters to accommodate them. Pabuk is expected to bring heavy rainfall to neighboring regions that could include tourist hotspots.

Pabuk will disturb lives

According to Mirror UK, tropical storm Pabuk will be the first mass of thunderstorms to strike Thailand in the last 68 years. Southern Vietnam is already feeling the effects after it received torrential rain and the climatic disturbance is on its way to strike Thailand with high-speed winds.

The Thai Met Office has warned that the storm could hit between January 3 and 5. During this period, a popular marine park will remain out of bounds. Moreover, many ferry services will not operate and the storm could lead to disruption of flights. Officials are preparing to brace for flash floods, mudslides, and huge waves.

Mudslides occur when the soil loses its power to bind because of the absence of trees. The usual practice is to cut down the trees to make way for roads and human settlements in the name of development. This destabilizes the ecosystem, results in the loss of lives, and habitats, and damages the infrastructure. Incidentally, tropical storm Harriet that struck in October 1962 is the deadliest cyclone to have ever hit Thailand. It killed 935 people.