PETALING JAYA: Thunderstorms are likely now especially in the evenings, but Malaysians should brace themselves for dry and hot weather with the onset of the southwest monsoon.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) said the southwest monsoon is due now and expected to last till September.
The winds during the southwest monsoon period would lead to a drier climate and less rain cloud formation, its director-general Datuk Alui Bahari said.
As such, heatwaves and dry spells are forecast to take place in many parts of the country.
Johor, Melaka, Terengganu, Pahang and the coastal areas of Kelantan are expected to receive slightly less than average rainfall, which typically falls below 150mm.
Areas in Sabah such as Sandakan, Kudat and Keningau are also expected to experience rainfall amounts slightly below average.
Alui said that many global climate models are forecasting that the El Nino phenomenon has about a 65% chance of taking place until August.
However, he said it would be a weak one and would not impact the country’s weather drastically, unlike in 1998 and 2016.
El Nino is a weather phenomenon in which sea temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean rise, bringing dry weather and high temperatures to Malaysia.
However, in light of reports of heavy floods in Indonesia, Alui said there could be the occurrence of heavy rains and thunderstorms in the evening or early morning.
He said torrential rains in Malaysia could be due to the formation of squall lines – narrow bands of thunderstorms and winds – near the west of the peninsula and west Sabah.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia’s professor of Climatology and Oceanography Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang said the floods in Indonesia could be due to the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO) effect and the warmer sea temperatures southwest of Sumatra.
The warmer oceans, he said, in turn would have caused a convergence of moisture in nearby areas, which could have led to the floods.
However, he added, it is forecast that in about two weeks, a suppressed convection of the MJO would cause increased dryness over Malaysia and Indonesia.
The MJO is a phenomenon in which a low pressure system crosses eastward from the Indian Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.
For Malaysians, the weather is easily one of the main topics for small talk as there is much to share about.
“Kuala Lumpur will never be half as hot as Manjung always is, so I have built up endurance,” said administrative executive Aisyah Nabilah, 27, who comes from Manjung, Perak.
She does not think the heat in Kuala Lumpur, where she works, will be unbearable.
“My family will probably just manage the heat by turning on the air-conditioning, especially at night, for the children,” she said.
Chartered accountant Melisa Chong, 34, said: “As long as there is no water cut, I am fine.”
“I will also be more mindful to drink more water,” she added.
She said the heatwave was tolerable as long as there was no haze.
Copywriter Eliena Kadir, 26, said fasting in the hot weather would not pose a problem for her as she had been doing so since she was young.
“I think I’ll be all right no matter the weather conditions.
“If it gets too hot, I will try to cool off inside buildings with air-conditioning whenever possible or take naps.”“If I’m home and not working, then I will take a shower to cool off,” she added.