BANGKOK — This summer’s unusually hot weather is already causing droughts, summer storms and forest fires, with one woman dead after a storm saw a tree fall and crush her car.
Experts predict that Thailand’s 2019 summer will be “irregularly” hot and characterised by an extended drought. In Bangkok Monday through Thursday, expect highs of 38C throughout the week, which will peak to 40C from around Friday and through the weekend. Much of the nation will be much the same, though northern, Isaan and central provinces will be even more arid – highs of 40 to 41C through Thursday, peaking to 44C starting Friday.
“It’s about 30 to 40 percent hotter this year because of El Nino. Years with the El Nino phenomenon are hotter than usual,” Seree Supratid, director of the Climate Change and Disaster Center, Rangsit University, explained Monday.
According to El Dorado Weather, districts in Lampang, Loei, Mae Hong Son, Nong Bua Lamphu and Tak were among the hottest places on earth as of Monday, with Thoen district in Loei taking fifth place.
The inordinate heat can lead to unexpected weather. Storms on Sunday, which saw hail in the north, damaged more than 160 houses in Nakhon Ratchasima and 100 houses in Lampang.
Nhormuekae Kerdsuklert, 59, died Sunday in Mae Taeng district, Chiang Mai after a storm caused a large tree to fall on her family car. The five other people in the car, her family members, were injured.
Even deputy junta Gen. Prawit Wongsuwan has taken notice of the heat, warning incoming cadets of the heat.
“The military and police should take care of training and first aid procedures, due to the extremely hot weather,” Prawit instructured Monday. “Incoming cadets should be prepared for environmental factors…so that there is no event of injury or death.”
On Monday in Mae Hong Son, forest officials extinguished the latest in dozens of forest fires that have erupted since the hot season began. In Korat on Sunday, a forest fire broke out not more than 10 meters from a roadside restaurant.
Seree warned that farmers may have to postpone their planting season until August, when there will be more substantial rain, as the drought may last through July.
For Bangkokians and others living in an urban jungle, buildings and concrete structures which absorb heat will put many at risk of heatstroke. Seree recommends staying hydrated and avoiding staying outdoors for extended periods of time while the sun is out.
Heat can also indirectly cause food- and water-borne illnesses such as shigellosis, diarrhea, cholera and typhoid fever, added Praphat Weerapol of the Amnat Charoen Provincial Health Office.
Hail on Sunday in Chom Thong district, Chiang Mai.