Tropical Depression Pabuk leaves Thailand, moves into Andaman Sea
Kocha Olarn, CNN - Tropical Storm Pabuk has been downgraded to a depression and has left Thailand, the Thai Meteorological Department announced in a news conference Saturday.
Spokesman Phuwieng Prakhammintara told reporters the storm, which swept through outlying islands off Thailand's Eastern coast Friday night had now reached the Andaman sea on the western side of the country.
Saturday morning, Chayapol Thitisak, the director general of Thailand's Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation, told CNN there had been no casualties resulting from the storm so far.
Thai authorities had issued warnings and opened shelters fearing extensive damage from Tropical Storm Pabuk as it approached Thailand, which does not usually experience such harsh weather conditions.
Pabuk made landfall Friday in the Pak Panang district of Nakhon Si Thammarat province around 3:30 p.m. (3:30 a.m. ET), with maximum sustained wind speeds of 95 kilometers per hour (59 mph), according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center.
Some of the country's most popular tourist destinations, including Koh Samui, Koh Phangan and Koh Tao islands, along with islands in the Andaman Sea such as Phuket and Koh Phi Phi -- made famous by the movie "The Beach" -- were expected to be affected by the storm during what is peak holiday season.
It is highly unusual for tropical storms and typhoons to make landfall in Thailand. The last time a tropical storm made landfall in Thailand was in 1962, when Tropical Storm Harriet claimed 900 lives. The only typhoon ever to make landfall in the Southeast Asian nation was Typhoon Gay in 1989.
The Royal Thai Navy's only aircraft carrier has been deployed along with two other ships to assist with rescue and relief operations, according to broadcaster Thai PBS. It will reportedly take 15 hours for the ships to sail from their base to Nakhon Si Thammarat.