PETALING JAYA: Malaysians may feel like the mercury has risen to record levels this year but that appears not to be the case, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
A MetMalaysia spokesman said the current daily maximum temperatures had not surpassed the 40.1°C recorded in Chuping, Perlis, on April 1, 1998, during the last El Nino.
MetMalaysia, he added, had also not determined if the current spell was the longest period of dry and hot weather ever experienced by the country.
“We don’t have those records,” he said.
This came as the US National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) announced that last month was the hottest March in 137 years.
The combined average temperature over global land and ocean surfaces for last month was the highest for any March in the 1880-2016 record at 1.22°C above the 20th-century average of 12.7°C.
NOAA’s National Centres for Environmental Information also reported that this surpassed the previous record set in 2015 by 0.32°C.
March 2016 also marked the 11th consecutive month a global temperature record was broken, the longest such streak in NOAA’s 137 years of record-keeping.
Meanwhile, the Education Ministry declared school closures for today in Perlis as well as Jerantut and Temerloh districts in Pahang after daily maximum temperatures reached 37°C for three consecutive days.
“The closures are a precautionary measure to safeguard the students’ health,” the ministry said in a statement yesterday.
A total of 68 secondary and 191 primary schools will be closed for the day, involving 97,533 students, of whom 5,671 are preschoolers.
School administrative activities will continue as normal, with teachers and other staff members expected to perform their routine duties that do not involve students.
In a separate statement, the Energy, Green Technology and Water Ministry said water rationing had started in Kota Tinggi and Mersing districts in Johor on Monday.
This involved 17,000 account holders who would get water for 24 hours every two days.
The ministry also stated that water treatment plants in five states – Pahang, Kedah, Perlis, Johor and Sabah – have had to reduce the production of raw water due to the current dry and hot spell.
This affected 27,000 account holders in peninsular Malaysia and 1,200 others in Sabah.
Among measures taken by water companies in those states include sending water tankers to affected areas, the placement of static tanks and installation of purified water package plant in Sabah.
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