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Southern Vietnam Records One of Coldest Temperatures in 4 Decades

"Ok campers, rise and shine, and don't forget your booties 'cause it's cold out there."

Temperatures dropped to 14.4°C at Ta Lai measuring station in Dong Nai Province on the morning of January 13, as a cold front swept through the entire southern region. Saigon saw the mercury drop to a brisk 19°C the same day, while Long Khanh Station in Dong Nai Province hit 15.9, Phuoc Long Station in Binh Phuoc Province reached 16.3, and Tay Ninh Province experienced 17°C weather.

Lê Đình Quyết, an official from the Southern Center for Hydro-Meteorological Forecasting, explained that the reading at Ta Lai was among the coldest recorded in all of southern Vietnam since 1978.

The chilly weather in the south is a result of the same frigid weather system the swept through the north last week. Mountainous areas in the north dropped below zero, which ushered in a spate of snow, much to the delight of tourists. Hanoi dropped to 10°C before warming up slightly in recent days. 

The cold snap did not deter Vietnamese border guards, who have ramped up patrols in the north in anticipation of increased attempts at illegal entry in the lead up to the Lunar New Year. 

Meteorologists expect the conditions in the south to continue for several more days, with temperatures plunging in the mornings and evenings and rising in the day. Hanoi's resident social media meteorologist Weatherdude explained that the cold is a result of the cyclical La Niña weather pattern, which involves colder-than-normal weather over the Pacific Ocean making landfall. 

For context, Sa Pa boasts Vietnam's coldest temperature of all time, at -6.1°C on January 4, 1974. For Saigon, the coldest it's been since 1976 is 16.4°C on December 25, 1999.

CORRECTION: A previous version of this article stated that the 14.4°C reading was the lowest recorded in southern Vietnam in the past 40 years. This is incorrect. According to climate experts, there have been lower readings over the past decades, such as in Đồng Xoài in 1980 (11.9°C) and Phước Long (13°C).

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