11 July 2024

Southern coastal provinces from Phetchaburi downward are bracing for an onslaught of tropical storm “Pa Buk” which is expect to pack a strong wind of up to 90 kph when making a landfall between Surat Thani and Chumporn provinces, said Samroeng Saengphuwong, deputy secretary-general of National Water Resources Office after an emergency meeting to assess the situation.

He said the tropical storm was expected to dump about 200-300 mm of water into Chumporn, Prachuab Khiri Khan and Phetchaburi provinces during January 3-5 while other southern provinces namely Surat Thani, Phatthalung, Songkhla, Pattani, Yala, Narathiwat, Krabi, Trang, Satun, Ranong and Nakhon Si Thammarat would also be lashed with heavy rain.

Although tropical storm Pa Buk was assessed to be not as devastating as Typhoon Gay which struck the southern coastal provinces in 1989 killing more than 800 people in and around the Gulf and wrecking havoc to properties, he said that the storm was quite intense and could cause considerable damages to houses and other structures along the eastern coast.

Samroeng said his official had already alerted the Royal Irrigation Department and the Electricity Generating Authority of Thailand to discharge water from Kaeng Krachan, Pran Buri and Ratchaprapa dams in Phetchaburi province and 19 other mid-sized reservoirs so there will be room to meet with the inflow of water mass dumped by the storm.

Officials concerned were also warned to brace for flash flood, mud slides and high waves which can go up to five metres, he added.

Meteorological Department chief Phuwiang Prakhammin warned that there was a risk of storm surge on Friday January 4 from Prachuab Khiri Khan down to Surat Thani when the tropical storm makes landfall because the storm was predicted to be very intense.

He advised residents living along the coast to move deeper inland for their safety while park officials were told to close off water falls for visitors and small vessels to stay ashore.

In Surat Thani province, a crisis centre was set up at the provincial hall and each of the four deputy governors were designated to handle the storm in four separate zones.

Governor Witchavuth Jinto said the military and its engineering corp had put on stand by heavy machinery, flat-bottomed boats, mobile generators, water pumps  and trucks as well as men who were ready to respond to the emergency situations within short notice.

He said park officials were advised to close off water falls for tourists while small boats were told to stay ashore for their own safety.

In the eastern province of Trat, trawlers hurriedly headed ashore to dock at the pier in Laem Ngob after they were warned of the arrival of the tropical storm by the Weather Bureau.