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Thousands of tourists flee Thai islands ahead of Tropical Storm Pabuk

Tens of thousands of tourists have fled popular resort island areas of Thailand ahead of Tropical Storm Pabuk, a potentially devastating weather system projected to hit the country’s southern provinces by January 4. Pabuk is the first tropical storm in the area outside of monsoon season for 30 years. The Thai Meteorological Department’s director general warned of waves up to seven meters near the eye of the storm, and advised that it’s hard to predict the full severity, “so people should comply with authorities’ recommendations.” Pabuk has generated winds of over 100 kilometers per hour, but is not expected to develop into a full typhoon.