April is well known in Thailand for being the hottest month of the year and the time of the famous water festival, Songkran. However, April 2016, will be remembered as the month Thailand melted under the blazing tropical sun and endured the longest heatwave in the 65 years of the country’s recorded temperature history.
Koh Samui is one of at least 50 towns/cities throughout Thailand that have recorded new maximum temperatures during this April heatwave.
The average maximum temperature each day this month has been above 40°C, with the mercury spiking to 44.3°C, just short of the all time record temperature.
This image released by NASA’s Earth Observatory Team from data collected by the Moderate Resolution Imaging Spectroradiometer (MODIS), an instrument on NASA’s Terra and Aqua satellites, shows the land surface temperature as observed by MODIS in Asia between April 15 to April 23, 2016. Yellow shows the warmest temperatures. April in Thailand is typically hot and sweaty but his year’s scorching weather has set a record for the longest heat wave in at least 65 years. (Reto Stockli/NASA Earth Observatory Team/MODIS Land Science Team via AP) (NASA)
The yellow areas in the NASA image above indicate the hottest areas, Thailand in the middle of the image, is a blazing mix of yellow and orange.
Surapong Sarapa, head of the Thai Meteorological Department’s weather forecast division, told the Associated Press that Thailand began keeping national weather records in the early 1950’s.
He went on to say, “As of now we can say we’ve broken the record for the highest temperatures over the longest duration in 65 years and the season isn’t over yet.”
The hottest day on record in Thailand is 112.1°F / 44.5°C at Uttaradit on April 27, 1960.
On April 12 this year, Sukhothai almost exceeded that record recording a maximum temperature of 111.7°F / 44.3°C
The heatwave has also fuelled a new record for energy consumption and prompted health warnings on everything from food-borne illness to drowning, both of which rise every April when Thailand’s hottest month coincides with school summer break.