Heat and drought expected to impact Thailand

Heat and drought are expected to impact Thailand soon.

The end of the summer season is predicted to arrive by the middle of month, but Thailand is expected to face the harsh impact of the El Niño phenomenon around the middle of June. This will lead to severe drought conditions, according to the Meteorological Department (MD), Bangkok Post reports.

The highest temperatures for the remaining summer months have been revised, with maximum temperatures now anticipated to hover around 40C, rather than the previously predicted peak of 43C.

Somkhwan Tanchan, the Meteorological Observations Division’s director, noted that the average maximum temperature has been consistently around 40C since the beginning of this month. Fortunately, this can be attributed to a low-pressure trough, as opposed to the heatwaves experienced by neighbouring countries, such as India and Bangladesh since early April. However, with the impending severity of this year’s drought far surpassing the situations both in 2019 and 2020, Thailand could face another series of high temperatures in the near future.

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The MD has also expressed concern regarding the potentially severe health impacts caused by the continuous high heat. On Friday, the heat index (HI) registered an alarming 54C in the Bang Na district of Bangkok, as well as in Chon Buri and Phuket, as reported by Chomphari Chomphurat, the MD’s director-general. The HI, also referred to as the apparent temperature, reflects the temperature perceived by the human body when relative humidity is combined with the air temperature.

An HI ranging from 41 to 54C raises the risk of heatstroke substantially, particularly with prolonged exposure to the heat, according to information released by the Department of Health. Furthermore, an HI surpassing 54C is associated with an extremely high risk of heatstroke. The Bang Na area of Bangkok, as well as Chon Buri and Phuket provinces, experienced heightened HI values due to their high humidity, which results from their close proximity to the sea.

The sweltering heat is predicted to persist until Sunday. In addition, extreme weather conditions, including the potential for thunderstorms, are anticipated from next Monday through to Thursday.

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Mitch Connor

Mitch is a Bangkok resident, having relocated from Southern California, via Florida in 2022. He studied journalism before dropping out of college to teach English in South America. After returning to the US, he spent 4 years working for various online publishers before moving to Thailand.

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