KUALA LUMPUR: The almost unbearably hot and dry weather caused by El Nino is expected to ease by April.
Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said the inter-monsoon season then would restore humidity and lower temperatures.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM) climatology and oceanography expert Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang said the El Nino phenomenon, which swept over the country in December and January, was in the descending phase.
“We have had an extraordinarily hot spell during this phase, particularly this month,” he said.
Fredolin, who has been studying the phenomenon for 20 years, said the north of the peninsula, northern Sarawak, Sabah and southern Philippines had been experiencing extremely dry and hot weather.
In a statement, the Science Technology and Innovation Ministry said temperatures in the country could reach 40°C, pointing out that Chuping in Perlis hit 39°C two days ago.
The highest reading in the country’s history was 40.1°C, also in Chuping in 1998, during the last severe El Nino.
The sweltering weather, said the ministry, could trigger a heatwave, posing health risks such as heatstrokes.
Despite the heat, water levels at all main dams in the country are still holding out.
National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Ridhuan Ismail said current water production and consumption was not at a worrying stage.
Minister of Energy, Green Technology and Water Datuk Seri Dr Maximus Ongkili said there was sufficient water supply at dams nationwide. The dams are being monitored daily.
“The sensitive areas are usually Johor, Selangor, Kedah and Penang,” he added.
Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (Luas) said the water level at the seven dams in Selangor remained at more than 70%.
The water in Penang’s dams are also above 70% with enough supply until the rains next month.
In Johor Baru, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry exco chairman Ismail Mohamed said the state government had implemented various measures to alleviate the situation.
“We have acquired ‘deep wells’ from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry for 66 farmers in Johor’s largest vegetable cultivation at Sengkang Batu 18, Bukit Gambir,” he said.
Farmers, he said, were also encouraged to use fertigation and hydroponics to ensure that they could at least meet the minimum demand during the dry spell.
In Kuala Terengganu, an academician said the drastic sea temperature rise would adversely impact not only coral reefs but marine life and biodiversity as well.
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