The searing heat has occurred much earlier than when it usually arrives.
Last Saturday, Vietnam notched its highest recorded temperature ever in April, at 43.4°C, Washington Post reports. The record was measured in Huong Khe District, Ha Tinh Province, in the North-Central Region of the country. This area usually experiences temperatures of 26°C at this time of the year. The news source adds that the record temperature is hot enough to melt crayons, liquefy chocolate and raise temperatures inside a parked car with the windows closed to 60°C.
Temperatures in Hue and Da Nang, meanwhile, soared to 40.5°C and 37.7°C respectively, while Saigon saw a high temperature of 35°C on Monday. The weather has been unforgiving for locals trying to carry on with their daily lives, as the temperature at 6am is already 29–31oC.
As southern Vietnam’s dry season marches on, daily highs could reach up to 35–36°C from 11am to 3pm.
According to VnExpress, Saigon has also been experiencing dangerous levels ultra violet (UV) levels. The index reached the “very high” level of 10 in mid-February, and in late March the index hit the “very dangerous” level of above 11. Currently, data from WeatherOnline shows that the city’s UV index is at 12, an extreme level that poses health risks such as skin cancer and other dermatological issues like hyperpigmentation, dermatitis and aging.
The punishing heat and brutal sunshine also poses risks of eye damage, overheating and dehydration to vulnerable children and the elderly. Even healthy adults are advised to wear quality sunglasses and cover their skin, or at least wear strong sunscreen, particularly during the hottest hours of the day.
The National Ocean and Atmospheric Administration recorded March 2019 as the second-hottest March on record, while the World Meteorological Organization confirmed that 2015-2018 were the four warmest years on record.