PETALING JAYA - Scorching heat is forecast on March 20 due to the equinox phenomenon.
The current hot spell could cause a heatwave if the temperature exceeds 35°C for five straight days, or 37°C for three consecutive days, said Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau.
In a statement, he said that of late, the highest temperature was recorded on Thursday in Alor Setar, and Chuping (Perlis) where it peaked at 38.5°C.
He said if the rain continued to stay away, then Kedah, Perlis and Penang could record even higher temperatures.
"As for the Klang Valley, the nights will be hotter than usual," he said.
Malaysians, especially senior citizens and children, should take precautions when engaging in outdoor activities. "Drink more water to prevent dehydration," he said.
Tangau said the hot and dry weather was projected to ease by the end of the month following the inter-monsoon season where there would be more rain and thunderstorms in the evening.
On another matter, the Department of the Environment said yesterday that the Air Pollutant Index (API) readings recorded in the Klang Valley was due to ground level ozone and not the PM10 fine dust that is part of a haze.
Ground level ozone is a secondary pollutant formed by chemical reactions triggered by the presence of ultraviolet rays in sunlight.
"The API is based on five parameter pollutants - PM10 (indicator of haze), SO2, NO2, CO and ground level ozone (O3). In the API calculation, the most prominent parameter becomes the API of that particular time or hour," the DOE said.
"The contributing factor to high ground level ozone is due to high intensity sunlight since the weather now is very hot and dry, resulting from the El Nino."
Moderate API readings were recorded in Petaling Jaya at 103, Shah Alam (103) and Batu Muda (124) at 2pm yesterday.