Freezing Cold in Thailand

People back in the home country always laugh when I go on about how cold Thailand is at the moment. Our winters don’t normally last very long – some years less than a week – and don’t really warrant wearing anything warmer than normal. However, this last week has seen some of the coldest weather for a long time. Usually, after the new year, it starts to warm up quickly and we should be sweating and drinking iced water by now. But, the mercury has been dropping fast these last few days. In Bangkok, it has fallen to 14 degrees Celsius. In Tak Province at the weekend, the governor announced nine districts disaster zones as the temperature went below 14 degrees Celsius. In many places in the north and north-east, in particular in the mountains, the temperatures have dropped to close on zero. In Loei they have been reporting a frost in the early mornings.

I know many of us find it funny when Thai people start to wrap up warmly as soon as it goes below 25. However, it is not really a laughing matter for the people in the hills who are not equipped for cold weather. Many of them don’t have any warm clothes and blankets nor any spare fuel to make fires. At least three people have died in the last few days including a monk who froze to death in his kuti. Although it is warm today in the sun, the icy cold wind in the shade is causing people to come down with the flu. One minute you are hot and then the next you are freezing cold. It does feel at times cold enough to snow, but so far it hasn’t snowed. Though, there have been reports that there was some snow for a brief time back in 1955 in Chiang Rai, in Northern Thailand. There were other claims of snow in recent years, but this was dismissed as just being a widespread frost turning the grass and leaves white.

This cool weather doesn’t really bother me much. It is a nice change to have some fresh cool air which is not so humid. It will also mean my fuel bills won’t be so much this month as I am not turning on the air-conditioner and the fans. But, I must admit that the cold wind coming down from China does make me shiver at times in the shade. There is definitely a wind chill factor that is making it much colder than the 24 Celsius we presently have this afternoon. The pictures on this page were taken during assembly this morning. As you can see from the above picture, what should be a sea of white uniforms is now a colourful rainbow. I guess we should make the most of it. They are forecasting this to last not much longer than Thursday. Then we will be back to the low 30’s and it will climb up to the 40’s for its peak in April.

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