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Thailand Declares Local Emergency


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article reported in todays online SMH

A severe cold snap in Thailand has prompted authorities to declare an emergency zone across more than half of the country normally renowned for its tropical weather.

Local media have reported up to five deaths as a result of exposure to unusually cold conditions, but the Disaster Prevention and Mitigation Department said they were still verifying the reports.

As temperatures fell to four degrees Celsius in some parts, officials said on Tuesday that 42 of 76 provinces, mostly in the north and north-east, would get a special budget to provide blankets and warm clothing.

The Meteorological Department said the temperature in Bangkok fell to 15 degrees Celsius on Monday - cold for the capital, but still far off its record low of 11 degrees recorded in 1974.

"Because the high pressure from China keeps coming, the cold weather will stay in Bangkok at least until this weekend," a meteorological official said.

On Tuesday, most parts of north and north-east saw temperatures below 14 degrees coupled with strong winds, with a mountain in northern Chiang Mai provinces recording a temperature of four degrees.

In Bangkok, commuters and residents used to the heat, sun and humidity for which Thailand is famous have wrapped up in scarves and jackets in recent days.

© 2009 AFP

could be very bad for our betta buddies

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