AMID widespread circulation of rumours on social media that two tropical storms are heading for Thailand bringing torrential rain on election day, Sunday May 14, 2023, Minister of Digital Economy and Society (DES) Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn came out to quash the weather scare but warned voters they still had to prepare for continuous rain in many areas that day, Amarin TV said this afternoon (May 9).
This was supported by the Meteorological Department’s denial that two storms are moving to Thailand from either flank, the Bay of Bengal and South China Sea, during the next seven days (May 9-15). While a tropical storm is forming at the former this is unlikely to hit Thailand.
There is no storm forming in the South China Sea, only a low pressure cell, the weather forecasters said.
Chaiwut added that the low pressure cell in the Bay of Bengal will intensify into a tropical depression during May 9-10 and turn into a cyclone named Mocha on May 11. It will likely move in a northwesterly direction to the centre and upper part of the bay during May 13-14.
In addition waves in the Andaman Sea will be one to two metres high surging higher than two metres during thunderstorms.
On election day May 14 incessant rain will continue in many parts through Mocha’s influence which will also strengthen southwesterly winds. Showers are likely in upper Thailand particularly the western half covering 60% of the area. In other regions, including Bangkok and its vicinity, rainfall is likely in 40-60% of the area.
This may be an obstacle for people to go out and vote but the Meteorological Department will monitor the weather conditions and has opened a weather enquiry service at hotline 1182.
Regarding the impact of the weather phenomenon El Niño this year, after La Niña’s three-year sway ended at the beginning of the year, Chaiwut said data analysis and forecasts indicate that El Niño will start impacting Thailand from June to July and continue till either December this year or February next year.
This will lead to higher temperature than normal this year with precipitation nationwide during the rainy season to decrease by 5%.
The average temperature next year too is expected to be around 0.5-1 degree Celsius higher than normal, probably similar to 2016 which was the year of severe El Niño. Total rainfall will likely decrease by 10% with drought possible.
A thunderstorm. Top photo: Thomas Gatzweiler (CC BY-SA 2.0), Front Page photo: Tobias Franz (CC BY 2.0)
Insert: Minister of Digital Economy and Society Chaiwut Thanakmanusorn addressing a press conference today, May 9, 2023. Photo: Amarin TV