Storms set to hit North, Northeast
High winds forecast in southern region
The Department of Disaster Prevention and Mitigation is calling on 25 provinces to brace for tempestuous weather from Sunday to Thursday.
Thunderstorms and high winds have been forecast for the North and Northeast, influenced by high pressure from China plus strong winds from the west, director-general Monton Sudprasert said on Friday.
The provinces to be hit with stormy weather include Mae Hong Son, Chiang Mai, Chiang Rai, Lamphun, Lampang, Phayao, Phrae, Nan, Tak, Sukhothai, Uttaradit, Phitsanulok and Kamphaeng Phet.
The provinces of Loei, Nong Bua Lamphu, Udon Thani, Nong Khai, Bueng Kan, Sakon Nakhon, Nakhon Phanom and Mukdahan will also be affected, he said.
He added that officials will also closely monitor the danger from storms and strong waves in the South, especially in Nakhon Si Thammarat, Songkhla, Pattani and Narathiwat. The director-general warned people to beware of strong winds knocking down unstable structures.
The warning came as the level of fine particulate matter (PM2.5) in Bangkok on Fridaymorning was found to be within the safe limit. Though the level of ultra-fine dust rose during the day, the figure at around noon remained at between 20 and 47 microgrammes per cubic metre (µg/m³), according to the Pollution Control Department, which was well within its safe standard of 50µg/m³.
However, smog in other provinces remained bad, especially in the North.
Mr Monton said Interior Minister Anupong Paochinda has told the department to monitor the situation closely, though nine provinces in the North have been declared "no burn" zones, at least until the end of April.
Local authorities have also been told to increase penalties against violators of the ban on outdoor fires.
Late last month, Deputy Prime Minister Prawit Wongsuwon said strict law enforcement is key to controlling the fine-dust pollution.
Gen Prawit, who also chairs the National Environment Board, said the board acknowledges that all state agencies have put in place their own set of rules to deal with smog, these regulations need to be stringently enforced.
"Provincial governors, including Bangkok's governor, are commanders on the front lines of the fight against the haze. Other agencies must support and listen to their directives," he said.