In recent years, the weather in Vietnam has become hotter during summer and colder during winter.

This has led the Hydrometeorological Forecast Centre to warn of unusual weather patterns as the changes were quicker and more complicated than in the past.

An official from the centre has asked relevant agencies to regularly adjust plans to cope with these developments.

The official said the unusual changes had made weather forecasting more difficult.

Deputy director of the centre, Le Thanh Hai, said the appearance of snow in hills in the northern provinces of Lao Cai, Ha Giang and Cao Bang last week, for example, was outside meteorological predictions.

"The cold spell had been forecast," he said, "but we were completely surprised when the temperature dropped to zero degrees Celsius and snow fell."

Snowfalls normally occurred from December to February, he said. This was the first time snow appeared in March.

Hai stressed that rising sea levels and hotter weather in the next 20 to 50 years were not the only predicted effects of climate change.

He said people should also be aware that weather patterns had become more severe.

"The planning of socio-economic development and residential areas should be made in harmony with these climate changes," Hai added.

"People should prepare to cope with any changes of climate," he said.

Hai also warned the public to be aware of the ongoing effects of the La Nina phenomenon which could bring extra rain, whirlwinds and floods./.