Thai Tropical Storm Weakens After Thrashing Southern Region

(Bloomberg) -- Thailand’s most powerful tropical storm in decades has weakened after strong wind and flash floods disrupted oil production and flights, leaving thousands of tourists stranded near the nation’s southern beaches.

Wind from tropical storm Pabuk slowed to 55 kilometers per hour (34 mph) from 65 kph Saturday before crossing the peninsula to the Andaman Sea at 9 a.m. Bangkok time, the Meteorological Department said in its latest update. Bangkok Airways Pcl resumed flying on Saturday between Bangkok and Koh Samui to pick up stranded passengers after suspending flights on Friday, according to an airline statement.

Thai Tropical Storm Weakens After Thrashing Southern Region

The storm disrupted the peak period for the Thai tourism industry, which makes up for about a quarter of the country’s economy. Overseas visitor numbers had only just recovered after a slump following a tour boat accident off Phuket in July that killed dozens of Chinese holidaymakers.

The economic loss from the tropical storm may reach 5 billion baht ($156 million), the Bangkok Post reported, citing local authorities. One fisherman was killed, while another is still missing, according to the newspaper.

Thai Tropical Storm Weakens After Thrashing Southern Region

Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-Ocha ordered the military, police, civil officials and volunteers to prepare for rescue and rebuilding, the government said on its website.

PTT Exploration & Production PCL suspended energy production from its platforms near the path of storm. Output of natural gas and crude oil has dropped and the government is seeking imports to ensure there’s no disruption to electricity production, the energy ministry said Wednesday.

©2019 Bloomberg L.P.