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    Jan 26, 2016

    Thailand shivers as cold wave travels south


    THE cold snap that hit north-east Asia also sent some shivers into Thailand, with the temperatures of Bangkok and its vicinity dipping to between 16 deg C and 20 deg C yesterday and expected to hover around this band for the next few days.

    This is about 10 deg C lower than the typical mercury level of the Thai capital, which lies in the belt of tropical monsoon climate.

    The unusual cold left Bangkok residents, whose normal attire generally includes flip-flops and shorts, digging through their closets for jackets and jumpers, reported Agence France-Presse.

    The weather is chillier in north and north-east Thailand, where temperatures are expected to drop to 8 deg C later this week, with heavy rains and icy weather forecast, the Thaivisa news website reported.

    Weather forecaster Preecha Jinthanawat told The Nation newspaper that the cold in the north would last until early March due to a westerly trough from Myanmar.

    The trough resulted from the strong high pressure zone in China, which itself saw a wide swathe of its southern region experience record low temperatures in decades over the weekend.

    But according to Chinese weather expert Zhu Dingzhen, the cold front that has engulfed southern China since Friday should peter out by early this week.

    "In the winter of 2008, the cold weather system stayed for a long time, with warm wet air constantly meeting dry cold air," he told the flagship China Central Television.

    "But due to the difference (from 2008) in the upper air... there will be no extended freezing weather from this year's cold snap," he added.

    Meanwhile, half of Vietnam has also been experiencing bitter cold since Saturday while snow has been falling heavily in many areas across the northern mountainous region.

    In Japan yesterday, the cold snap continued to dump heavy amounts of snow across the central and western regions, said the country's meteorological agency.

    In Seoul, the temperature dipped to minus 14 deg C yesterday but the South Korean capital is expected to see warmer days by next week, reported China's official Xinhua news agency.

    Off the Korean Peninsula, the tourist island of Jeju was cut off yesterday by heavy snow for the third day, with about 90,000 travellers stranded with the cancellation of flights.

    The cold snap is also blamed for killing 57 mostly elderly people in Taiwan's greater Taipei area over the weekend, when the temperature was pushed to a 16-year record low of 4 deg C.