BANGKOK (AP) — Thailand's capital has seen its coldest temperatures in three decades, as the normally balmy Southeast Asian country is experiencing one of its longest winter cold snaps in years.
Oparg Karankawinpong, deputy director of the Department of Disease Control, said Thursday that as many as 63 people in 24 provinces have died from cold-related ailments since the cool season began in late October, with the north and northeast being the country's chilliest areas. He said hotter weather was expected to begin in mid-February.
Thai media quoted Songkram Aksorn, deputy director general of the country's meteorological department, as saying that Bangkok's temperature fell Thursday morning to 15.6 degree Celsius (60.08 degrees Fahrenheit), the lowest in 30 years. He added that the current cold season lasting almost three months was the longest in a decade.
It is not unusual for people living in northern Thailand to haul out coats and scarves to wear around the turn of the year, and tourists and locals alike wonder at frost found in mountainous areas. But in poorer communities it is necessary for blankets to be distributed by authorities. The cold weather also is a concern because it lowers people's resistance to diseases, raising the risk of infections such as bird flu.