13 March 2019
Because of the climate change, it is getting hotter and hotter around the world. In the record of worldwide, 2017 was the hottest year in all non-elnino years. 2018 was the fourth hottest year. Perhaps it can be expected that 2019 will also get another record.
Summer is, of course, the hottest season of the year and it has already come in Myanmar. “This year is an el nino year and we predict that this year’s summer will have higher temperature than normal, especially in lower Myanmar. Last year was the la ninya year and this year will be warmer than 2018.”, said U Kyaw Moe Oo who is the Director General of Meteorology and Hydrology Department Myanmar.
People going outside under high temperature should be careful about excess sweating which can cause dehydration and low sodium in body. “It can lead to heat stroke, unconsciousness, and delirium. Body temperature may reach up to 40 ºC.”; said Dr. Htein Win who is the founder of Dr. Htein free clinic and school. He also mentioned what to do to avoid effects of high temperature in summer. “Children, elders and person with chronic diseases should stay in the shady places. Avoid doing exercise under high temperature. If it is necessary to go outside, wear caps and umbrella. Wear comfortable white clothes. Avoid taking bath as soon as coming back from outside and also showering and washing along the riverbanks in the noon. Alcohols can cause more effect of high temperature so you should avoid. To avoid dehydration and low sodium, drink oral rehydration solutions.”
Another important fact to be careful in the summer is ultraviolet rays. Ultraviolet rays are always in sunlight. The higher the temperature is, the more ultraviolet rays include in the sunlight. In primary case, ultraviolet rays can leave sunburn and in server case, it can cause skin diseases and eye diseases.
Myanmar New Year Festival, Thingyan festival, is coming soon in April. Since April usually has very high temperature and New Year festival is the water festival, sudden body temperature change can have effect in thermoregulatory system. Dr. Htein Win stated how to protect yourself in the hot period of Thingyan. He said, “You should wear sunglasses to protect eye diseases, should be careful of water not to get trapped in the ears. To protect skin, you should wear suitable clothes and caps, apply sun cream, and wear towels.”
Besides extreme temperature, another significant weather situation formed in summer is the thunderstorm clouds, said Dr. Tun Lwin, a meteorologist. These are the big cloud mass entering to country from the northern Myanmar and local people name it North ‘West storm. They are very strong thunderstorm clouds which can cause severe weather such as lots of rain and violent wind. “Sometime the maximum wind due to North ‘West storm may reach up to 72 miles per hour so that is almost the same level as cyclone,” said Dr. Tun Lwin. He added that this is not called cyclone because North ‘West storm is just big clouds mass without center and whirlwind.
The North ‘West storm remains from March to May and is occurred frequently in April. In general, total frequency of North ‘West storm in Myanmar is about 145 per year.
When remaining winter wind down from Himalaya which is cold and dry meets wet and moist wind from Bay of Bengal, they become unstable and result in big thunderstorm clouds. These can give disaster consequences especially in Chin, Sagaing and Kachin States of Myanmar.
Thunderstorm clouds are hug clouds which are 1500 feet above the earth. They are tall and sometimes have 55, 000 feet height. It contains all type of moisture such as water vapour, large and small water droplets, ice crystal and dangerous supercooled water which is below-freezing liquid.
Thunderstorm can give ten types of weather, namely, thunder, lightning, strong wind, heavy rain, lightning strike, hail, tornado, downbursts, waterspouts, and St. Elmo’s fire. In the end of February, 3 people died because of thunder strike and more than 800 houses were destroyed because of strong wind.
Dr. Tun Lwin mentioned, “Myanmar is facing problems with thunderstorm because of the lightning strike. We suffer fatalities more than 100 per year, especially the farmers. Farmers use to go to farms and prepare for their agricultural work especially in the month of May. May is the pre-monsoon month and most frequent thunderstorm forms in May. Out of 14 states and regions, according to our record, Bago region has the most frequent thunderstorm in the whole country.”
Therefore, in summer, people should be careful about both excess temperature and weather change. Summer in Myanmar usually lasts for three months from March to May.