Forecasters warn of heat stroke as mercury nears record high

national April 13, 2016 01:00

By THE NATION

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Sukhothai swelters in its highest April temperatures, approaching nationwide record registered in 1958.



THE MERCURY in the northern province of Sukhothai, Thailand’s former capital, has shot to 44 degrees Celsius, the highest the province has ever registered in April, and nearing the highest ever recorded in the country of 44.5 degrees in Uttaradit.
Weather forecasters have warned people against staying in the sun too long given the risk of potentially fatal heat stroke.
Because of a low-pressure zone covering the upper part of Thailand, many provinces have witnessed record-breaking temperatures this month. Lampang’s Thoen district on April 7 saw the mercury rise to 43.2 degrees. 
On Monday and yesterday, the highest temperatures in Thailand were recorded in Sukhothai’s Sri Samrong district, Kanchanaburi at 43.5 and Nakhon Ratchasima at 43.2. 
Some provinces saw temperatures this year at the same level as record highs 58 years ago, when Kanchanaburi saw temperatures rise to 43.5 degrees on April 29, 1958.
 Temperatures in Sri Samrong broke the record from last year in line with weather-bureau predictions of 44 degrees for the latter half of the month.
Forecasters also predicted that temperatures would notch up 1 more degree yesterday. Surapong Saratpa, of the Thai Meteorological Department, warned people to be careful during Songkran, from today until Friday. If the mercury exceeds 44.5 degrees, as recorded in Uttaradit in 1958, a new record will be set after 58 years.
 
Summer storms
Chatchai Promlert, Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department director-general, also warned people to brace for summer storms from now through Sunday, especially those in 47 provinces in the North, Northeastern and Central regions.
Meanwhile, a man who collapsed and died in Phitsanulok’s Bangrakam district probably succumbed to the heat, police said.
The body of Denchai Thongpak, 47, a resident of Bang Rakam district, was found yesterday lying face up in the middle of a rice field. He was not wearing a shirt, his eyes were wide open, and there was no evidence of foul play. Police said he had died within the previous 12 hours.
His wife, Somnuk Petam, 41, said her husband had left home, telling her that he would go fishing, and when she went looking for him after nightfall, she found him 3 kilometres from home. She added that Denchai did not have any known health issues.
Police believe Denchai suffered fatal convulsions due to heat stroke after walking in the sun, and that an autopsy would be conducted although his family did not suspect foul play.
Thada Satta, director of the Phitsanulok Weather Bureau, warned people against heat stroke and staying in the sun too, adding that temperatures in the province were expected to hit 42 degrees. 
Weather forecasts show a hot low-pressure zone covering upper Thailand, bringing high temperatures and haze during the day in the North, Northeast and Central regions. 
From yesterday until Friday, southerly winds are expected to bring humidity from the South China Sea to cover the North, Northeast and Central regions with gusty winds and rainstorms in some areas. 
From Saturday until Monday, a confluence of westerly and southeasterly winds will prevail over the North, Northeast, Central and East regions leading to thundershowers with gusty winds in some places.

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