To those hoping for the scorching hot weather to subside soon, we’ve got bad news for you.
According to Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau, the heatwave will likely persist until June, instead of April as previously reported.
Experts warned that the ongoing dry spell and scorching heat this time around could result in air pollution, choking haze, massive forest and bush fires, as well as water shortages, as it did back in the late 1990s.
“The El Nino this year is looking to be almost equal in strength to the one in 1997-98. This phase of El Nino is a continuation of last year’s, when we were affected by a thick blanket of haze. Researchers concluded this El Nino poses almost the same threat as the one we faced nearly two decades ago. It is worrying,” he told local English daily the New Sunday Times (NST).
Researchers have also cautioned that the El Nino phenomenon will continue to affect the whole region, with Sabah and northern Sarawak set to be the hardest hit in the coming 2 months. The Star reported that 4 peninsula states and Sabah recorded the highest temperature readings in the country during yesterday’s equinox occurrence.
The locations were Chuping in Perlis (39.5°C), Alor Setar in Kedah (39.1), Ipoh in Perak (37.5), and Temerloh in Pahang (37.4) and Keningau (37) in Sabah. “The readings almost reached danger level, 40°C, which can cause heatstroke,” said the minister. Unfortunately, the heatwave has already claimed its first victim, a police trainee, who succumbed to heatstroke in Johor last Friday.
The Education Ministry will decide today whether schools in certain areas of the country should be closed due to the heatwave. According to Minister Datuk Seri Mahdzir Khalid, if the temperature continues to rise above 39°C without any sign of dropping, affected schools will be close.
The minister also stated that he had already issued a directive for all activities outside the classroom to be stopped due to the extremely hot weather and to prevent dehydration.
In order to stay healthy, do check out our precautionary guideline on what warning signs to look out for as well as advice on how to cope during this dry spell.