KUALA LUMPUR - While the weather may be hot and dry of late, Malaysians are still not experiencing a heatwave.
According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department, the current hot weather is due to the south west monsoon, which generally brings less clouds.
"This, in turn, exposes us to more sunlight and the stifling heat," said the department's Central Forecast Office director Muhammad Helmi Abdullah yesterday.
He said temperature during this period was normally around 33 degrees Celsius, but "now it is 34 to 35 degrees Celsius".
This was, however, still within the normal temperature range for this period, he said, adding that if it went above 37 degrees Celsius, then "we will be having a heatwave".
"Currently, we are not predicting any heatwave happening this year. It occurs when there is an El Nino."
The last time the country was hit by a soaring heatwave was in 1998 and it was due to a strong El Nino, a climate pattern where the warm surface of the tropical eastern Pacific ocean carries high air pressure to the Western Pacific, and a heatwave is one of the weather phenomenon due to this.
Helmi said in Malaysia, a heatwave usually occurs at the end of the south east and south west monsoon periods.
"Perlis and Kedah are frequently affected by heatwaves during February and March."
Consultant Nephrologist Dr Vincent Chun Wei Wong said that heatwaves could cause heat strokes and even lead to kidney stones.
"When the temperature is too hot, the body will be dehydrated and exhausted.
"In the end, the body will not be able to cool itself.
"Kidney stones occurs when the body is extremely dehydrated and urine crystals form stones in the kidney, damaging its functions."
Dr Chun, from KPJ Kajang Specialist Hospital, advised the public to constantly drink water and avoid consuming alcoholic or carbonated beverages.