KUALA LUMPUR: “It is very hot outside there,” a colleague told this writer here recently.
“You can expect the heat to get worse in the coming weeks,” the colleague noted further.
Currently many parts in Malaysia are experiencing a dry and hot spell and according to experts this condition is projected to continue at least until September.
According to media reports, Subang in Selangor recorded 36.2 degrees Celsius on June 7 while the temperature in Kuala Lumpur reached 36.0 degrees on June 4, with the heat making life really uncomfortable for Klang Valley residents.
The media quoted the Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasting director Saw Bun Liong as saying that the current ‘sizzling weather’ is due to a combination of
“The annual southwest monsoon typically brings hot and dry weather. But the heat intensified with the coming of tropical storm Aere in the Philippines and the low
pressure in the Indian Ocean,” he said.
However, the current hot spell has not unleashed the ‘heat wave’ phenomenon.
Based on statistics, the hottest day ever recorded in Malaysia was on May 18, 1998 in
Chuping, Perlis where the temperature soared to 38.9 degrees while some parts in Melaka recorded 38 degrees.
Anyone exposed to heat is in danger of suffering from heat exhaustion and heat stroke.
Heat-related illnesses have killed thousands over the past decades where in 1980, a heat wave in the United States killed more than 1,250 people while more than 50,000 people died during the European heat wave of 2003.
What Is A Heat Wave?
A heat wave is measured relative to the usual weather in the area and relative to normal temperatures for the season.
According to weather experts, temperatures that people from a hotter climate consider normal can be termed a heat wave in a cooler area.
Severe heat waves have been known to cause deaths from hyperthermia and widespread power outages due to increased use of air conditioning.
A heat wave can be an extended period of days with higher than normal temperatures. A heat wave can also be shorter in length, but with abnormally high temperatures.
While the weather in the country is hot and dry of late, Malaysians are still not experiencing a heat wave so far, according to the Malaysian Meteorological Department.
An officer with the
department, who declined to be named, said the current hot weather is due to the southwest monsoon, which generally brings less clouds.
“This exposes us to more sunlight and stifling heat. Normally the temperature during this period is
about 33 degrees Celsius but now it is about 34 to 35 degrees,” he said.
This temperature is still within the normal range for this period, but if the temperature goes beyond 37 degrees Celsius, then Malaysia will experience a heat wave.
He said the last heat wave in Malaysia happened during the El Nino phenomenon in 1998.
The Meteorolgical Department has predicted that the current hot spell is going to last until the final quarter of the year.
Medical authorities have advised people to stay indoors if they do not have outdoor errands.
“Drink water even before you step out the door apart from trying to stay indoors in an air conditioned or well-ventilated building,” advised medical practitioner Dr Shuhaimi Jamil of Rawang, near here.
“Even if you have to go
outside, stay out of the sun. Refrain from performing strenuos activities and be sure to drink water at least every hour even if you do not feel thirsty,” he said.
However, Dr Shuhaimi cautioned patients who are required to consume ‘limited amount of fluids’ like those who have kidney failure to consult their respective physicians. — Bernama (By Zulkiple Ibrahim)