PETALING JAYA: It is scorching hot in many parts of the country and will remain so until the inter-monsoon season arrives in October.
Kapit in Sarawak was the hottest spot in the country at 37°C, according to a check on the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) website.
The next hottest locations were Kuala Krai in Kelantan; Sibu and Sri Aman (Sarawak); Temerloh (Pahang); and Mersing (Johor), which all recorded 35°C.
The hottest state capitals were Ipoh (Perak), Kota Kinabalu (Sabah), Kuching (Sarawak) and Kuantan (Pahang), which were all at 34°C.
The readings were taken at 5.15pm yesterday, when the hot weather would usually have subsided from its afternoon peak.
Meanwhile, Perak, Pahang, Kelantan and Sabah were the warmest states with an average highest temperature of 34°C.
According to MetMalaysia, the average highest temperatures from yesterday until Saturday will remain at 34°C in all four states except Sabah, where the average highest temperature is forecast to drop to 33°C on Friday and Saturday.
The hot weather has affected many people in several states.
Temperatures in many parts of the country have been rising due to the current South-West monsoon, which started in the third week of May.
According to the country’s official definition of a heatwave, temperatures between 35-37°C for three days straight are classified as “alert level” or Category 1.
Category 2 or “heatwave level” is defined as temperatures over 37°C for three days straight, while Category 3 or “emergency level” is when the temperature soars above 40°C for three days in a row.
The classifications were defined at a 2016 national technical meeting on tackling El Niño and dry weather.
On July 28, Sik (Kedah), Kuala Krai and Beluran (Sabah) recorded maximum temperatures between 35°C and 37°C for more than three days, putting them on a heatwave alert.
In a recent statement, MetMalaysia director-general Alui Bahari said the country’s atmosphere is generally drier due to reduced convection during the southwest monsoon.
Convection is when warm air rises and produces an upward current in the atmosphere, creating wind, clouds or other weather.
“As such, the country will experience more days without rain in this period compared to others,” said Alui.
However, the arrival of the inter-monsoon period in October is expected to bring cooler weather.
Throughout the inter-monsoon season, late afternoon and early evening thunderstorms and heavy rains are forecast in the west coast Peninsular states and western Sabah, along with western and central Sarawak, according to MetMalaysia’s forecast.
In addition, most parts of Peninsular Malaysia are expected to receive higher than normal rainfall at this time.
The inter-monsoon will be followed by the northeast monsoon, which starts in November and ends in March.
The North-East monsoon brings heavy rains, especially to the east coast of the peninsula and western Sarawak, which often leads to floods in some of the affected areas.
A major heatwave recently hit Europe, Japan and some other parts of the world.
The phenomenon reportedly killed 50 in Canada and 80 in Japan, led to droughts in Germany and caused temperatures to spike to record levels in Britain, Algeria, Morocco and Oman.
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