Due to high alerts of Tropical Storm Pabuk, able to bring heavy waves up to seven-metre, tens of thousands (50,000) of tourists have left the Thai resort islands of Koh Tao and Koh Phangan.
The island, being popular because of tourists during the peak season of Christmas and New Year Eve, have left the place since Wednesday, as they were bounded to ferries for the southern Thai mainland including swimming banned with boats setting to suspend all services.
According to news reports, Thailand’s first tropical storm, Pabuk, is expected to strike repeatedly with hard blows to Koh Phangan and Koh Toh, as well as Koh Samui on the Friday’s night, before entering into Thai’s mainland. Though, no official orders were provided to the tourists but they are leaving the island in droves.
Koh Phangnan district chief Krikkrai Songthanee said: “I think the islands are almost empty … between 30,000 to 50,000 have left since the New Year’s Eve countdown parties.”
According to forecasters, Pabuk was winding with 104 km per hours (65 mph) but it was unlikely to get intensified into a typhoon.
Director general at the Thai meteorological department Phuwieng Prakammaintara said: “But we expect waves as high as five or seven metres near the eye of the storm. Normally in the Gulf of Thailand there are only two metre high waves.”
He further said: “It’s difficult to predict the severity of the storm so people should comply with authorities’ recommendations.”
The closest of the trio of islands, Kon Samui, a Russian man on Wednesday droved. Police captain Boonnam Srinarat said, “A family of three went swimming but the strong current caught a 56-year-old man who drowned.”
“Island officials announced the warning and put up the red ‘danger’ flags … but maybe the family did not think the situation was that serious.”
Authorities have said to prepare for shelters for any tourists who plans to wait out the storm.