Thais are donning scarves, farmers are scrambling to save their rice crops and snakes are freezing to death.

That is all because temperatures in this normally balmy country have dipped to their coldest in a decade.

The country has been gripped in a cold spell that blew down from China earlier this month and is likely to last until February, the Thai Meteorological Department said Saturday.

Chukiat Thaijaratsathian, an official in the department's forecasting office, said temperatures in the country's capital fell to a low of 14.7 degree Celsius (58.5 Fahrenheit) on Jan. 11 - the coldest in a decade. They have even been colder in the country's mountainous northeast, reaching 4.2 degree Celsius (39.5 degree Fahrenheit) in Nakhon Phanom province.

"We have not had this kind of a cold spell in Thailand for many years," Chukiat said. "Seven of our weather stations around the country have recorded the lowest temperature in 10 years."

At least two people have died from exposure to the cold, according to The Bangkok Post. A 71-year-old monk was found dead Sunday in Phak Hai district of Ayutthaya, about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of the capital. An 82-year-old man also was found dead in his apartment in Rayong province, in the east of Thailand. It was unclear when he died.

For most Thais, the cold spell has meant having to don scarves and, in some cases, gloves for the chilly commute to work. Villagers have taken to lighting outdoor fires at night to keep warm - resulting in at least 10 people suffering burns when the fell asleep next to the flames.

The country's agriculture has been hit especially hard by the cold weather.

As much as 150,000 rai (24,000 hectares; 59,304 acres) has been damaged by the cold, according to The Bangkok Post. Another 200,000 rai (32,000 hectares; 79,000 acres) of tobacco plantations also were damaged, the newspaper said.

Snake farmers in parts of the country have complained their slithery reptiles are dying from exposure, the newspaper said, while fish farmers in the country's south said their sea bass were dying off.

Even the wild animals are having a rough time.

The Elephant Hospital in Lampang is watching at least eight ailing pachyderms who have fallen sick because of the freezing conditions. Monkeys in the country's south have abandoned their homes in the Bantad mountain in favor of a local hot spring in a bid to keep warm.

Source: The Associated Press