CHIANG RAI — Mountaintops peeking from a sea of fog, while groups of aunties in jackets raise their arms to the sunrise – that’s how Thais are greeting lower temperatures this week, a sure sign that the Cool Season is indeed around the corner.
This year’s Thai-styled winter will be colder nationwide by an average of 1C, said Seree Supratid, director of the Climate Change & Disaster Center at Rangsit University – and you will feel it.
“Isaan will be colder than the north this year. That doesn’t mean we will see snow or anything like that, since on average we’re 1C cooler than last year. But people will feel the difference,” Seree said by phone. “That’s because it’s been so hot these past three years.”
2020 is a La Nina year, in which the sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific are lower than normal, in contrast to El Nino, where the oceans are warmer for a part of the cycle.
Will Bangkok feel the drop? Will there be a glorious week of Europe-like weather? Yes, and yes.
“Oh, for sure there will be that cool weather period. It will feel cooler than average as well, since worldwide weather is quite unstable,” Seree said.
The Thai “winter,” which began in late October, is expected to be gone at the end of February.
The Thai Meteorological Department Tuesday said that Thailand’s north and northeast will see cooler weather through Monday due to a high-pressure system moving in from China, with as much as a 4C drop in the regions.
Friday, Tropical Storm Koni will make landfall in Vietnam, resulting in rain for Thailand’s north and Isaan which will see lows of 22C and highs of 34C.
Bangkok will see lows of 23C to highs of 34C with a slight dip on Sunday and Monday.
Preecha Premfree, deputy director-general of the Department of Disease Control, said Monday that as temperatures drop, residents will be more at risk of contracting the flu, pneumonitis, diarrhea, measles, and hand, food, and mouth disease.
Preecha said that in 2020, about 113,000 people contracted the flu, a drop from 2019’s 396,000, which he attributes to the widespread habit of mask-wearing introduced by the coronavirus pandemic.
Visitors at Phu Chee Fah National Park in Chiang Rai on Oct. 25, 2020, where temperatures were at 17C.
Flowerbeds of begonias, petunias, verbenas, impatiens, and globe amaranths in full bloom are just one of the perks of colder weather at Flora Park in Nakhon Ratchasima on Nov. 1, 2020. Pongtep Malachasing, president of Wang Nam Khiao district’s tourism promotion organization, said that winter flowers are blooming in the 50 rai (8 hectares) park, a good time to visit.
A temperature of 7C was recorded at Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai on Oct. 26, 2020. During the long weekend on Oct. 23 to 25, the Doi Inthanon National Park saw 15,000 visitors. Kriangkrai Chaiyapiset, park director said that visitors want to experience cold weather and the beautiful mountain top views – so much so that the park’s lodgings are fully booked through the end of January.
Phuluang Wildlife Sanctuary in Loei on Tuesday is seeing 12C temperatures, as much as a 3C drop after days of rain.
In the same province, Phu Ruea National Park’s 15C temperatures were greeted by tourists eager to experience the fog and cool.