La Nina brings early rains
The La Nina phenomenon, which triggers unusually cold ocean temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific, has brought early rains to northern Thailand.
Northern Meteorology Centre weather forecast division chief Santanee Chaichiangpin said that meant greater than average rain¬fall was likely this year.
Torrential rains pounded the North last week, when tropical depression Mala hit Burma.
La Nina, which usually occurs every two to three years, will bring lower temperatures to the region. The chance of the mercury topping 40 degree Celsius is slim, said Santanee.
"The North's rainy season will start earlier, in May in fact, as a result of the depression in the Bay of Bengal, and that will accelerate the southwestern monsoon and bring rain into the region faster," he said.
The rain will probably stop for a few weeks, from mid June until mid July, when the monsoon moves into southern China, said Santanee.
He said he thought the rainy season would be long, extending into October.
The centre expects 300-400 millimetres of rain to fall between now and next month, increasing to an average of 380-480 millimetres in July and August, and then declining to 260-360 millimetres in September and October.
The Northern Meteorology Centre predicted that a few more storms would hit the region during August and September and said there is a risk of flooding.
Santanee urged local people to follow forecasts carefully and be ready for floods.