BANGKOK — Southern Thailand is expected to be hit directly by a tropical storm for the first time in 56 years later this week, officials said Tuesday.
The Meteorological Department said the tropical depression Thirtysix will affect the south Wednesday to Saturday after reaching the Gulf of Thailand tomorrow. The Hydro and Agro Informatics Institute said it’s likely to strengthen into a tropical storm as it crosses over the mainland and into the Andaman Sea starting Thursday.
According to the institute, the South was last directly hit by this same type of tropical storm in 1962 when Harriet made landfall at Laem Talumphuk in Nakhon Si Thammarat before going on to devastate 12 provinces and kill more than 900 people.
In 1989 the upper south was hit by the much more powerful Typhoon Gay, which killed more than 400 people after it swept through Chumphon and Prachuap Khiri Khan with gusts of up to 185kph.
The storm might cause sea waves to reach over 5 meters, and all disaster agencies have been advised to prepare.
Forecasters at the UN’s Global Disaster Alerting and Coordinating System said the tropical depression already became a tropical storm this morning and winds will peak at 83kph on Thursday.
The storm is expected to affect up to 5.3 million people in Thailand and Myanmar.
Clarification: This story has been updated to reflect the fact that although Thirtysix would become the first tropical storm to hit southern Thailand since Harriet in 1962, a more powerful typhoon made landfall in 1989.