Vietnam breaks heat record again as Southeast Asia swelters

(Update: adds info on SEA Games, minor edits)

Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, May 8 (EFE).- Vietnam broke its all-time record for the highest temperature for the second consecutive day on Monday, reaching 44.2C in the north of the country, 10% more than the previous all-time high recorded a day earlier, the Vietnamese meteorological service reported.

The new record of 44.2C was recorded in the town of Tuong Duong in the province of Nghe An, near the province of Thanh Hoa where temperatures reached 44.1C Saturday, surpassing the record of 43.4C in 2019.

These extreme temperatures are due to a heat wave that has shaken the center and north of the country since Friday and has exacerbated the effects of the El Nino phenomenon, which is causing higher than usual heat in the country and throughout the region.

Neighboring Laos also registered its highest ever temperature on Saturday, with 43.5C in the popular tourist town of Luang Prabang, 1.5C more than the previous record of 42C reached in May 2019, according to climatologist and climate historian Maximiliano Herrera.

Herrera said on his Twitter account, Extreme Temperatures Around the World, that in the last seven weeks “records have been broken almost daily at dozens of weather stations in an area of millions of square kilometers in Asia.”

Thailand is also experiencing unusually intense heat that has shattered several records, the last of them Sunday, with 41C degrees in Bangkok, the maximum reached in the capital since records began.

The highest in the country was exceeded on Apr. 15, with 45.4C in the western province of Tak.

Over the border in Myanmar, thermometers exceeded 45C last month, the highest temperature in a decade, although 2010’s record of 47.2C remains intact.

The extreme heat is also impacting the Southeast Asian Games being held in the Cambodian capital Phnom Penh.

The medical chief of Malaysia’s delegation, Jasmiza Khuzairi, has warned the athletes of the risk of heat stroke by teaching them how to spot its first symptoms to prevent serious consequences, according to the New Straits Times newspaper.

“It’s like an oven out there,” complained Malaysian biathlete Siobhain Doyle Me Li, 19, on Monday, who had to abandon the race because of the heat and was unable to confirm her status as a medal contender, The Star reported.

In cycling, several riders dropped out before finishing the men’s and women’s Mountain Bike races, according to the Philippine daily Inquirer.

“Unfortunately, arriving here three days before the event isn’t not enough for the riders to acclimatize with the excessive heat. Even under the shade it was 45,” the vice president of the Philippine Cycling Federation, Oscar Rodriguez, said.

The heat is also affecting some facilities, most notably the grass at the Morodok Techo stadium, the competition’s main venue, which is yellowing due to the strong heat in recent weeks. EFE


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