Cooler days for Malaysians at last

A man (R) drinks water along the dry banks of the Pahang river as schools remain closed due to the ongoing heatwave in Termerloh, outside Kuala Lumpur, on April 11, 2016.

PETALING JAYA: Many Malaysians can breathe a sigh of relief. The worst of the heatwave is over and they can expect cool and clear weather in the coming weeks.

Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail said that as of Wednesday, there were only three hotspots in the country - all along the coast of Pahang.

"There are some hotspots at and around Kuala Rompin and Pekan as the east coast has been a bit dry due to little or no rain," she said.

"In the west coast, however, it has rained regularly."

Che Gayah added that the situation has improved around the country because the rain has put out fires in recent days, and there has been a sharp drop in the number of hotspots in the peninsula from the 31 on April 20.

She pointed out that the haze over some places in the country was mostly from local sources such as forest fires, smoke from vehicles and factories.

Che Gayah said that in the coming few days, there was not likely to be any trans-boundary haze as the wind was still not blowing from Sumatra.

"As of now, parts of Sumatra have received significant rainfall.

"A few hotspots were detected but the smoke will not blow into our country.

On the heatwave, she said that only Kuala Krai recorded a heatwave, whereas in other areas, the inter-monsoon rains have lowered the temperatures.

According to the department, a "heatwave" is declared when the temperature of an area is over 35°C for five days in a row, or over 37°C for three days in a row.

She said Malaysia normally experienced high daily temperatures in March and early April. With the El Nino phenomenon, the temperature could increase by between 0.5°C and 3°C from the normal values.

"The heatwave will gradually weaken till it diminishes in May," she said.