Special Report: Thailand engulfed in heat wave as temperatures soar to 41 degrees


The Meteorological Department revealed that Thailand recorded its highest average temperature so far at 41 degrees Celsius on March 29, as the country heads into a peak during the long summer months. 

The weather bureau warned that a hot air mass covering the upper parts of Thailand created a low pressure cell that is expected to bring isolated thunderstorms and strong winds in the Northeast and the East. The bureau forecasted that the mercury will continue to rise until end of May.

In addition to persisting drought and haze, average temperature in the North reaches a peak of 41 degrees Celsius with Lampang being the hardest hit by the current heat wave.

The rising heat comes amid surging electricity demand in the country which jumped to a record high of 26,430 megawatts recently. The peak demand surpassed the previous record of 26,121 megawatts on April 26 last year when the temperature hit 38.5 degrees Celsius.

The debilitating heat wave raised concerns among health experts as the hot weather presents a risk for those taking medication and suffering from pre-existing conditions.

In Pathum Thani province, a truck driver was found dead in his vehicle on the morning of March 28. His death was followed by reports on a Buddhist monk from Udon Thani province discovered dead in a public van. Initial forensic evidence for both cases suggests that heat exhaustion was likely the cause of death.

The Department of Medical Services issued a statement warning the public of summer heat dangers. As heat strokes are common during the summer months, members of the public are urged to take precautions including avoiding prolonged strenuous activities from late morning through the afternoon and staying well-hydrated.

Heat stroke which is the most serious form of heat injury can occur with symptoms such as throbbing headache, dizziness and light-headedness, muscle weakness and nausea. Experts warned that heatstroke can occur even in vehicles parked in shaded areas due to the increased temperatures inside a vehicle on such days.