The first drops of rain in a long time
During less than one hour yesterday we received 34 mm of rain, and then another 12 mm during the night. Combined with the weekend’s drizzle of 3 mm we have recently received a total of 49 mm or 49 liters of precipitation per square meter (almost 2 million litres for Dokmai Garden). Huzzah!
The past unexpected drought in the midst of the growing season disrupted normal growth and some teaks had already begun shedding their leaves prematurely. If the coming few days deliver more rain or at least overcast, this splatter will last a week and the Chiang Mai gardeners can go on planting vaster areas since a humid atmosphere is crucial for successful plant establishment.
The Dokmai Garden quarry still looks like a crater since the surrounding land was dry and sucked water like a sponge, but if we experience more rain then northern and northeast Thailand’s water reservoirs may start filling up in time for the real dry season which begins soon – in October-November.
A quick look at the NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) Climate Prediction Center’s website reveals that July’s neutral conditions may turn into ‘El Nino’ = a drought in Thailand in 2012-2013.
During the recent Mae Sot flooding some farang news sources located in Thailand hopefully declared ‘another year of flooding’ and many comments from uneducated indoor farangs talked about the government’s inability to apprehend the ‘signs of flooding’.
Instead of reading vulgar news sources mainly focused on sex, murder, accidents and the occasional natural disaster which occurs every year somewhere in Thailand due to the erratic weather patterns, I urge the foreign settlers to follow the scientific discussion (see link above) and more balanced news sources, and to observe ‘signs’ with your own eyes.
Asking the local farmers for ‘signs’ is not very helpful. When I was a freshman in Southeast Asia during the rainy season I noticed after a couple of days that the wind and rains came from the Southwest, and innocently I asked the locals if this was normal. Their answer was that wind and rain may come from any direction. They had lived a whole life here without observing a pattern, and most farmers are unaware of phenomenons like the monsoon and ENSO, believing witchcraft causes natural disasters and disease, and that prayers and offerings will make a change.
In spite of the Mae Sot incident the weak monsoon of 2012 has caused a drought affecting most of northern and northeastern Thailand and also many parts of the Indian subcontinent. The prognosis is that it may worsen, but for the moment those who got rain should rejoice.