Penangites brace for El Nino heat

K. Sundaran catering to his thirsty customers at his coconut stall in Abu Siti Lane.

PENANGITES have taken to various ways to beat the heat as temperatures soar in the state.

R. Priyah, 25, was seen trying to cool down with friends at the Penang City Park pool in the 35°C heat.

“This is the only place I could think of that allows me to cool off and take a swim for free. The weather has been unbearable lately.

“My family and I try not to go out during the day as we get tired faster than usual,” she said, adding that she uses some lotion to protect her skin if she had to go out during the day.

Coconut seller P. Rangan, who has a stall in Abu Siti Lane, has been doing brisk business with 30% increase in sales over the past week.

“The weather is getting hotter by the day and to cool down, especially in the afternoon, many people come to my stall for some coconut water.

“Sometimes within three hours, I can sell up to 300 coconuts,” he said when met yesterday.

The recent heatwave and dry spell experienced by the northern region has been forecasted to last until March this year.

The dam levels at Air Itam and Teluk Bahang are at 87.6% and 83.2% respectively but Penangites must still be very careful to save water.

Penang Water Supply Corporation (PBAPP) chief executive officer Datuk Jaseni Maidinsa said they were on the alert in view of the Meteorological Department’s warning of a possible hot and dry El Nino phenomenon.

“The last recorded rainfall at Penang’s key dams was on Dec 29 when we recorded 31.0mm of rain at the Air Itam Dam, 38mm at the Teluk Bahang Dam and 17mm at Mengkuang Dam.

“We have enough water in the dams to accommodate the dry season until March or April.

“We are monitoring the dams and Sungai Muda on a daily basis.

“We will brief the state government and inform the public on Penang’s water supply status regularly,” he told a press conference.

Jaseni urged Penangites to use water wisely and said they could call the PBAPP (04-5096509) any time of the day or night to report leaks at roadside mains or pipes.

“This weather pattern is due to global climate change.

“Penang always has dry weather from January to March but sometimes, the weather is drier than usual and this is one of the years.

“In 2014 and last year, Selangor, Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Negeri Sembilan and Johor had to implement water rationing.

“Even Taiping, the wettest town in Malaysia, experienced rationing and we do not want to have to take such a step,” he said.

Jaseni said the dams in the state were designed to store enough water for 100 days.

He added that currently, the daily consumption of water for the whole state was about one billion litres a day on average.

Sabah as well as Limbang and Miri in Sarawak are also expected to face dry spells.

Science, Technology and Innova-tion Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau had said that the current weather is due to the El Nino phenomenon which will be felt throughout the first quarter of the year.

Madius added that the El Nino was expected to reduce the percentage of rain by 20% to 60% and increase the temperature by 0.5°F to 2°F.


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