Met Dept declares heat wave in the north

Two SMK Raja Muda Shah Alam students feel the heat as they leave for home in Selangor yesterday. ― Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli
Two SMK Raja Muda Shah Alam students feel the heat as they leave for home in Selangor yesterday. ― Picture by Zuraneeza Zulkifli

PETALING JAYA, March 12 — The Malaysian Meteorological Department has declared a heat wave in the northern part of the peninsula after five straight days of above normal temperatures.

Sources said the temperature had exceeded 35 degrees Celsius between Monday and yesterday.

The worst-hit states were Kedah, Perlis and Penang with Chuping, Perlis, recording 38 degrees Celsius yesterday, the highest in the country.

A source said the department had noticed worrying trends with temperatures near but not equalling the 1997 El Nino phenomenon average temperature of 40.1 degrees Celcius from March to April that year.

“Besides El Nino, which will result in 20 to 60 per cent less rainfall, the equinox on March 20 will see the sun resting directly over the equator resulting in intense heat,” she said.

The source said the heat wave could last for 30 to 40 days until the beginning of May.

She said it may ease when the southwest monsoon season began that month and ends in September.

“The monsoon will bring relief from the heat between May and September and the temperatures can be expected to remain relatively stable after that,” she said.

On the haze which has re-emerged after ending last October, she said the intensity of the problem would depend on the wind direction from Sumatra, Java and Kalimantan.

Last year saw the worst-ever haze since 1997 with Air Pollution Index (API) in Shah Alam hitting a record 308 on Oct 4.

On Wednesday, the API was above 200 in parts of Sarawak and 300 in Brunei but below 100 in the peninsula.

Yesterday, most places across the country recorded healthy and moderate readings with the highest API readings in Cheras (91), Nilai (84) and Muar (71).

The Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre recorded 14 hotspots across the peninsula.