KUALA LUMPUR: The almost unbearably hot and dry weather brought by El Nino is expected to abate by April.
Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said the succeeding inter-monsoon season would restore humidity and lower the temperature.
El Nino, which swept over the country in December and January is a phenomenon caused by rising temperature over the east and central surface of the Pacific Ocean in the equatorial region, which occurs every two to seven years, he said.
Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia (UKM), climatology and oceanography expert Prof Dr Fredolin Tangang said the phenomenon is in the descending phase.
"We have an extraordinarily hot spell during this phase particularly this month," he said.
Fredolin who has been studying the phenomenon for 20 years said northern peninsula, northern Sarawak, Sabah and Southern Philippines would experience extremely dry and hot weather during the phase.
Meanwhile, the Science Technology and Innovation Ministry in a statement said the temperature could likely reach 40 degrees Celsius.
It cited Chuping district in Perlis, which recorded a reading of 39 degrees Celsius, two days ago.
However, the highest reading in the country's history was 40.1 degrees Celsius, recorded also in Chuping in 1998.
The statement also said the sweltering weather could trigger a heat wave which poses a health risk such as heatstroke.
Meanwhile, the water level at all main dams in the country is still holding out.
National Water Services Commission (SPAN) chief executive officer Datuk Mohd Ridhuan Ismail said current water production and consumption was not yet at a worrying stage.
"Currently, we have no plans to carry out water rationing," he told Bernama when contacted.
In Shah Alam, the water level at the seven dams in Selangor remained, as of yesterday, at more than 70 per cent.
Lembaga Urus Air Selangor (LUAS) in its portal stated that the water level at Langat dam stood at 70.16 per cent while that at Sungai Selangor dam, 86.51 per cent.
The water level at Semenyih dam was at 85.32 per cent while Klang Gates dam, 80.98 per cent; Sungai Tinggi dam (88.21 per cent); and Tasik Subang dam (97.51 per cent).
The water-level reading on March 11 showed the Sungai Labu off river storage (ORS) to be at 57.66 per cent, and Batu dam, at 83.36 per cent.
In Johor Baru, Agriculture and Agro-based Industry exco chairman Ismail Mohamed said the state government had implemented various measures to alleviate the situation.
"Among others, we acquired 'deep wells' costing RM1mil from the Agriculture and Agro-based Industry Ministry for 66 farmers in Johor's largest vegetable cultivation at Sengkang Batu 18, Bukit Gambir," he said.
He said the farmers were also encouraged to use fertigation and hydroponics to ensure that they could at least meet the minimum demand during the dry spell while increasing production.
In Kuala Terengganu, an academician said the drastic sea temperature rise due to El Nino would impact adversely not only on coral reefs but also marine life and biodiversity.
Universiti Malaysia Terengganu (UMT) vice chancellor Prof Datuk Dr Nor Aieni Mokhtar said fish for instance, need the coral reefs to thrive and if the latter die or coral bleaching occurs, the marine resources would deplete.
"On the other hand, El-Nino provides an advantage to marine life and biodiversity researchers and scientists.
"It allows them to find out how the coral reefs or marine life could still survive and sustain despite the threats," she told reporters after launching a Natural Resource Product Conference 2016, here Tuesday. - Bernama