PRACHUAP KHIRI KHAN: Disaster mitigation preparation is underway in 16 provinces in South and West Thailand as a tropical storm in the Gulf of Thailand is expected to make landfall 3 to 5 January, 2019.
In Prachuap Khiri Khan, the Interior Ministry is focusing mitigation efforts on the three southernmost districts of Bang Saphan Noi, Bang Saphan and Tap Sakae, where boats, machinery and personnel have been deployed in anticipation for flash floods and landslides.
Tropical storm “Pabuk” (พยุปาปึก) formed in the South China Sea with a trajectory bound for the Gulf of Thailand. It is expected to initially impact the Southern Thai provinces of Chumphon, Surat Thani, Nakhon Si Thammarart, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala and Narathiwat on 3 and 4 January.
Then, its trajectory is projected to move towards the Western Thai provinces of Prachuap Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi. Moreover, the Andaman Sea provinces of Ranong, Phangnga, Phuket, Krabi, Trang and Satun, as well as locales in Southern Myanmar are also expected to be impacted by stormy weather.
According to an advisory issued by the Thailand Meteorological Department on January 2, the tropical storm was registering maximum wind speeds of 65 kilometers per hour; however, the UN’s Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System forecast top wind speeds of the storm to reach 83km/hour.
In any case, the storm is expected to bring heavy torrential downpours, strong wind and inshore storm surges to the Gulf of Thailand, where wave heights could reach five to seven meters.
Most vessels in peninsular provinces of the Gulf of Thailand have been banned from leaving shore until January 5. The storm could be one of the worst to hit Thailand’s peninsular Gulf provinces in several decades.
Ban Muang reported that Royal Passenger Liner Ltd. has halted ferry services between Pattaya and Hua Hin until further notice. The same report also sited officials plans to discharge water from Pranburi reservoir in anticipation for heavy rains in the coming days. On January 3, the reservoir had 353 million cubic meters of water, which represents about 90% of the 391 mn m3 capacity. Officials would begin discharging water at the rate of 35 m3 per second and gradually increase that to a rate of 120 m3 per second, the report said.