Snow claim kicks up storm among weathermen

national December 19, 2013 00:00

By Pongphon Sarnsamak,

17,214 Viewed

There is no chance it will snow in Thailand soon, as meteorological conditions and the low altitude of most of the country would not permit it, experts said yesterday.

Their prediction came in the wake of speculation that the Kingdom could see snow following a sharp drop in temperatures across the country, and snowfalls in Egypt and Vietnam in the past few days.

“At best we can see frozen dewdrops on high mountains like Doi Inthanon in Chiang Mai,” National Disaster Warning Centre director Group Captain Somsak Khaosuwan said yesterday.

However, the leader of a people’s network that handles emergency situations, Piyacheep Vatcharobol, disagrees. He claimed yesterday there was a 90-per-cent chance that mountaintops 1,500 meters above sea level would experience snow. Average temperatures there would drop to -5 to -10 degrees Celsius, Piyacheep said.

Such mountaintop snow – possibly this month and in January – would result from an approaching “Little Ice Age” and reversal of the Earth’s magnetic field, which had last taken place 800,000 years ago. Because of these factors, the world now saw snow in Egypt, Vietnam and Laos, said Piyacheep.

However, Somchai Baimoung, a meteorological expert, explained that there are three factors that contribute to generating snow: humidity, temperature and atmospheric lifting. Even though the temperatures in some parts of Thailand, especially in the high mountain areas, are falling below zero Celsius, there is no atmospheric lifting condition in Thailand. Moreover, the altitude of Thailand is not correct for the generation of snow.

“There is no chance for Thailand to have snow,” he insisted.

He explained the generation of snow is not related to the phenomenon of the so-called “ magnetic reversal of the Earth”.

Somchai said that snow in Egypt is not new. There are records of snowfalls in this country 100 years ago. Also, snow has fallen in Vietnam in locations at high altitude and with enough humidity and sufficiently low temperatures to generate it.

“The falling of snow in Vietnam is not surprising,” Somchai said.

Somsak explained the temperature in Thailand has dropped because a cold air mass from China still covers the country. This cold air cannot pass through to the sea because it is blocked by a low-pressure trough floating over the southern regions.

The Meteorological Department yesterday forecast for upper Thailand a temperature drop of another 2-3 degrees Celsius in the next three to four days. With more rain predicted for southern Thailand, the department has urged ships at sea to take caution due to strong winds and high waves.

The cold spell has been blamed for two separate deaths yesterday in Pathum Thani’s Lat Lum Kaew district. Worker Khampan Khamkren, 40, reportedly had drinks with friends before going to bed without a shirt and was found dead at 3am. Another worker, Chalard Onndondo, 50, was also found shirtless and dead at 4.30am in his bedroom.



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