BANGKOK (AP) – Extreme heat sent temperatures soaring in Thailand as authorities warned people to stay indoors.
The Met Office forecast on Saturday said high temperatures could reach 43 °C (107 °F) in the country’s north over the next 24 hours and 40 °C (104 °F) in the capital, Bangkok. The highest temperature on Saturday was 42.5 °C (109 °F) in the northern province of Phetchabun.
“Even if I turn on the air conditioning at 20 degrees, I still sweat,” said 37-year-old Supichya Jitalila, who attended an outdoor political rally despite the heat.
The Meteorological Department said people should beware of extremely high temperatures as well as sudden heat storms for at least the next week. A police officer directing traffic in Samut Prakaran, a province just south of Bangkok, collapsed and died of a heart attack, media reported this week.
Saturday’s highest heat index – which measures how humid the temperature feels – was estimated at 53.8 C (129 F) in the eastern province of Chonburi. The southern resort island of Phuket could feel hotter than 54 degrees Celsius on Sunday.
The heat was a problem for the 2,000 or so people at the political rally in Bangkok. Even though the shade of a shopping mall shielded them from the direct glare of the sun, many could be seen trying to cool off with battery-powered and old-fashioned fans.
“It’s hot, very hot. That’s why I have my fan with me,” said 63-year-old Rungtip Sangwitayothai. Thailand has general elections next month.