PETALING JAYA: Equinox, a phenomenon where the sun is positioned on top of the head in the equatorial region, is expected to have a weaker impact on Malaysia.
“The effects of equinoxes on the equator area are generally lower than the effects of monsoon and climate patterns,” said Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Alui Bahari.
The equatorial region, he said, receives maximum sunlight throughout the year.
“Due to the constant sunlight it receives, the region will only experience a small variation in its climate due to equinoxes,” he said when contacted about how equinox will affect the weather in Malaysia.
Alui was responding to a message that has gone viral via WhatsApp advising people to drink more water between March 22 and 28.
“Drink more water for the next seven days (March 22-28) due to equinox. The body gets dehydrated very fast during this period. Please share this news to maximum groups,” the message reads.
Alui said equinox happens twice a year, either on March 21 or 22, or Sept 22 or 23.
In Malaysia, it happens on March 21 and Sept 23.
Interestingly, MetMalaysia last year also had to refute news on the Equinox phenomenon.
The department had then said a hike in temperature was expected to take place but would not result in a heat wave as claimed in the message.
Alui said based on the monitoring of thermal wavelength status, as at 4.40pm yesterday, there was no area in the country experiencing heat waves, where the temperature exceeds 37°C in three consecutive days.
“However, there are some areas that are on the alert because the temperature in the area reaches 35 to 37°C, namely Chuping, Kota Setar, Pendang, Sik, Hulu Perak, Kinta, Jeli, Tanah Merah, Kuala Krai , Gua Musang, Jerantut, Maran, Tangkak, Sri Aman and Kapit,” he said.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s professor of climatology and oceanography Dr Fredolin Tangang said the hot weather in the Peninsula, especially the west coast, is expected to improve as the inter-Monsoon arrives.
“Usually, there will be thunderstorms in the afternoon and late afternoon. But in Sabah and the northern part of the Peninsula, the hot spell may continue until April,” he said.
The MetMalaysia website showed that several states in the country are expected to see thunderstorms in the coming week, starting today.
For example, in Kuala Lumpur, Selangor, Putrajaya and Negri Sembilan, it is expected to see thunderstorms from March 23 to 25 and on March 28. No rain is expected on March 26 and 27.
There will be thunderstorms from March 23 to 28 in Penang.
In Sarawak, there will be no rain from March 23 to 25 and there will be thunderstorms over inland areas from March 26 to 28.
In the meantime, Malaysians are doing their best to counter the effects of the hot weather.
Lai Yuen Theng, who works in a daycare centre in Kepong, Selangor, said it was preparing porridge and herbal tea for the children to help “cool” their bodies.
Property agent Melissa Chen, who lives in Kuala Lumpur, said she will try her best to arrange house viewings for her clients in the morning as the weather is extremely hot these days.
“I will try my best to stay indoors. Last week, I brought clients to four places to look at condominium units. The temperature that day was about 37°C. I fell sick after driving and walking under the hot sun,” she said.
She also expected a spike in the electricity bill as she used the air-conditioner more frequently.