Children having a splashing time at the Kuala Lumpur City Centre water park yesterday as temperatures rose to above 36˚C. Temperatures may come down slightly next week but more hot and dry days are on the horizon. — NST picture by Yong Chee Choong
KUALA LUMPUR: The current heat wave and dry weather enveloping many parts of the country is expected to continue at least until September.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasting director Saw Bun Liong said the nation was experiencing a combination of weather factors that had led to the current hot weather.
He said the annual southwest monsoon usually caused hot and dry weather but the arrival of tropical storm Aere in the Philippines and the low pressure system in the Indian Ocean were contributing to higher temperatures.
Although the heat wave may continue, Saw said the worst might be over as Aere was now moving north.
Temperatures this month reached a high of 36.2ºC last Friday, recorded in Subang while the temperature here reached 36ºC yesterday.
The hottest day in the nation was recorded on May 18, 1998, when temperatures reached 38.9ºC in Chuping, Perlis and 38ºC in Malacca.
“We will still see lower levels of rain and more dry spells in the months ahead due to the southwest monsoon season which is expected to last until September,” he told the New Straits Times yesterday.
During this season, northern peninsular states, Sabah and parts of Sarawak are expected to see lower rainfall in the next two months.
In June, Limbang and Miri are expected to see between 20 and 40 per cent below average rainfall, while slightly below average rainfall is also expected in Labuan, West Coast and the interior divisions in Sabah.
Normal rainfall is expected to resume in all states in September.
Deputy director-general of health Dr Lokman Hakim Sulaiman said the hot weather could cause serious problems like heat stroke, which can be fatal.
He said people most at risk were those above 40 years old as they were 10 times more at risk than younger people.
He added that children below five years were also at greater risk, as with those suffering from breathing and heart problems, high blood pressure, diabetes and thyroid problems.
Dr Lokman also discouraged wearing tight and thick clothing as it prevented heat from escaping through evaporation. He said people should be on the lookout for heat exhaustion symptoms like headaches, lethargy, poor concentration, dizziness, cramps and nausea.
“It’s serious as the heat can cause dehydration, confusion and coma.” He advised people to drink plenty of water, including isotonic drinks, stay indoors, limit outdoor activities, have frequent rests, bathe or use fans to cool down, use light, loose and bright clothing and to use hats or umbrellas outdoors.
Dr Lokman also advised against consuming sweet drinks and also those with caffeine and alcohol.
He also cautioned parents on leaving children in cars with closed windows and exercising in hot weather.
Those with severe heat exhaustion should also seek immediate medical treatment at the nearest clinic or hospital. - nst.com.my