Vietnam broke its national high temperature record Saturday, the latest in a mounting list of records to fall as the world continues to warm.
The scorcher set the mercury thermometer soaring to 110 degrees Fahrenheit (43.4 Celsius) in the community of Huong Khe, a rural district in Ha Tinh province. It’s situated in Vietnam’s northern central coast region, about 150 miles south of the capital, Hanoi. Its average temperature is in the 80s at this time of year.
A temperature of 110 degrees is enough to soften your crayons, liquefy chocolate and raise the temperature inside a parked car past 140 degrees.
The record was first reported by Etienne Kapikian, a forecaster with Meteo France, France’s meteorological agency.
Sweltering heat covered the entire Indochina peninsula over the weekend. Danang hit 100 degrees. Hue topped 105.
Much of Vietnam’s southern third has held in the 90s the past few days. Ho Chi Minh City experienced a high of 95 Monday.
What makes the heat even more striking is that it’s only April. Most places in Vietnam see their hottest temperatures in June or July.
Nguyen Vo lives in Danang. She’s part of a team that just concluded an environmental governance project with the U.S. Embassy in Vietnam. “We have a quote in Vietnamese,” she joked. “There are two seasons here: hot and hotter.”
But lately, the heat has been brutal.
“We’ve been scorching hot. The weather has been a bit strange lately. I had to purchase clothes for cold weather in February, but it ended up being so warm, I didn’t use them,” she said.
Phuong Hoang was in Hue when the temperatures climbed above 100 degrees. “It is unbreathable outside in this heat,” she wrote. “The temperature at 6 a.m. is already 85-88 degrees.” That’s before the sun even came up.
The heat’s not just uncomfortable, she said. It’s taking a toll on residents.
“It is so hard to carry on your day in this,” she wrote. “But people have to. That’s the sad part.”
Air conditioning in Vietnam is primarily available to wealthier individuals. That sort of privilege is rare — the average monthly salary for most workers is less than $150 a month.
Hoang said the hot weather comes on the heels of a dry 2018. “Due to lack of rain, the hydropower dams are working with little water upstream,” she said.
Hoang works with government and private sector leaders to arrange educational programs studying climate impacts in Vietnam. Now she’s getting a firsthand glimpse of just how bad things will continue to get.
“It affects our daily life,” she said.
Saturday’s record follows news that March was the second-warmest on record for the globe.