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SE Asia shivers as cold winds sweep through

Publication Date : 25-01-2014


The weather in Kuala Krai, Kelantan is usually warm and humid all year long. Lately, though, residents have taken to wearing socks at home and extra layers of clothing as temperatures are hitting record lows.

From inland areas of Sabah to northern peninsular Malaysia, residents are experiencing an unusually cool spell.

Temperatures dipped to 17.2 deg C in Kuala Krai on Wednesday, while yesterday people in the Cameron Highlands shivered as the mercury fell to 12.3 deg C.

Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya were unusually cool too, with readings between 23.4 deg C and 30.6 deg C.

Yesterday, temperatures rose slightly. It was 19.1 deg C in Kuala Krai, and in the low 20s in most of Kelantan.

Weather experts attribute the phenomenon primarily to cold and dry winds that have moved south from China and a break in the rainy north-east monsoon season which lasts from November to February each year.

"Sometimes, a monsoon experiences 'breaks' in the rainy season meaning there is little moisture in the air to form clouds," said Mr Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, who heads the Malaysian Meteorological Department's central forecast division. "Less cloud coverage throughout Peninsular Malaysia during this week helps to lower the temperature at night and in the early morning."

The department expects the cooler temperatures to continue until early next week.

The weather has been even colder in Thailand, Vietnam and Cambodia last month and this month.

At least 63 people have died in Thailand and 25 million affected, as 45 provinces were declared cold-weather disaster zones and snow fell in some northern mountainous areas in the kingdom.

Even the capital has not been spared, reported Xinhua news agency.

"Bangkok hit its coldest record in 30 years on Thursday morning when the temperature fell to 15.6 deg C," said Mr Songkram Aksorn, deputy director general of the Thai Meteorological Department, as quoted by The Nation newspaper.

The current cold snap in Thailand is the longest in years, lasting almost three months and hitting rice crops that do not grow well in such temperatures.

Snow coated the northern highlands in Vietnam last month while temperatures in parts of Cambodia fell to between 16 deg C and 18 deg C and in coastal areas, 22 deg C to 25 deg C.


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