Nation to face drought conditions in next two months, weathermen warn

VIENTIANE (Vientiane Times/ANN) - Laos is likely to face an acute water shortage over the next two months as rivers continue to fall to lower-than-normal levels.

In a long-term forecast issued on February 10, the Department of Meteorology and Hydrology under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment warned of the possibility of extreme conditions during the annual dry season.

Almost all parts of the country will face a harsh climate environment in March and April, except for the northern provinces of Phongsaly, Huaphan and Xieng Khuang provinces, where rainfall will be about normal at 127 to 248 millimetres. However, rainfall is forecast to be above normal level in all the northern provinces this month except for Luang Prabang.

14 to 24 millimetres is the normal amount of rainfall for Phongsaly, Huaphan and Xieng Khuang in February, while it is 15 to 25 millimetres in Luang Namtha, Bokeo, Oudomxay and Xayaboury provinces. But rainfall will be lower than normal in all central and southern provinces during February, March and April.

Average precipitation is 95 to 159 millimetres in the central provinces, while 63 to 306 millimetres is the normal level of rainfall in the southern provinces over these three months. The department also warns of thunderstorms from late March to April. These storms usually occur in the afternoon and evening and can cause trees and electricity poles to come down, as well as cause damage to houses.

The department advises everyone around the country to use water as sparingly as possible and to monitor weather forecasts for more information.

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