Fishing communities and tourists were warned by the Ministry of Water Resource and Meteorology on Thursday to remain on land as Tropical Storm Prabuk is set to lash parts of the Kingdom, with 1.5-2m waves predicted at sea.
The warning came as meteorologists monitored the progress of the tropical storm, the first one taking shape this year in the South China Sea.
Pabuk is predicted to follow the Malay Peninsula southwards in the Gulf of Thailand on Friday, before continuing towards the Indian Ocean.
It was packing winds of 104km/h on Thursday but was unlikely to intensify into a full-blown typhoon, AFP reported forecasters as saying.
Tens of thousands of tourists had fled the Thai resort islands of Koh Phangan and Koh Tao in a mass exodus ahead of the storm, which is set to bring heavy rains, wind and 7m waves to the area, it said.
Meteorologists said Pabuk will bring rain and strong winds to Phnom Penh, with coastal provinces Kep, Kampot, Preah Sihanouk and Koh Kong particularly affected.
Ministry of Water Resources and Meteorology spokesman Chan Yutha told The Post on Thursday that the storm’s path will follow the coast and so will not seriously affect people on the mainland.
“It will cause strong winds in the seas off Cambodia and trigger waves 1.5-2m high."
“In this situation, fishermen and tourists are urged to refrain from fishing and conducting island trips in the sea off Cambodia. Naval forces are prepared for rescue missions in case of maritime incidents,” he said.
Preah Sihanouk provincial Water Resources and Meteorology Department head Heng Sophonarith told The Post that his team is working with relevant authorities in the provinces to issue prohibition notices to fishing communities and tourist boat companies to keep them in port.
“Pabuk will affect the seas off Cambodia from Thursday night until Friday evening or Saturday morning, so it may well cause danger to fishermen and tourists if they were to sail during this time."
“However, the relevant authorities have informed people and issued prohibition notices regarding the situation,” Sophornarith said.
Yutha said that while Pabuk will bring rain and strong winds to coastal regions, temperatures had dropped to 13-16 degrees Celsius (55-60 Fahrenheit) in the mountainous and plateau areas of Cambodia, especially the northeast highlands and Dangrek Mountains.
Preah Vihear provincial Water Resources and Meteorology Department head Chab Koy said temperatures had dropped to 13 degrees at Preah Vihear Temple, which sits on the Dangrek Mountains, and 20 degrees in Preah Vihear town.
He said the cold spell had so far lasted four days.
Oddar Meanchey provincial Water Resources and Meteorology Department head Nen Kuon said that over the past few days, the temperature in the Dangrek Mountains would fall to around 16 degrees at night and in the morning, but hit 29 degrees in the day.
Kuon’s Ratanakkiri province counterpart Chan Bunthoeun said temperatures have dropped to 16-18 degrees in his province. This was higher than in 2017 when it fell to between 12-14 degrees.