MALAYSIA is predicted to endure another two months of sweltering heat and dry weather as the El Niño phenomenon is expected to only dissipate in June.
This was the latest forecast based on an analysis by the Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in the United States.
Local media reported Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Wilfred Madius Tangau saying the phenomenon would end when the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI) reading drops to less than 0.5 degrees Celsius compared to the current 2.0 degrees.
“The impact of the El Niño on the temperature in the country is expected to reduce when the strength of the El Niño winds down while the increase in the frequency of rain during the inter-monsoon season reaches its height at the end of April or early May.
“This is because the rain and thunderstorms, especially in the afternoons and evenings in the west coast states and interior of the peninsula, west Sabah and Sarawak, will be more frequent during the inter-monsoon season,” he was quoted saying in The New Straits Times.
In a statement, Madius said based on CPC’s observation, the ONI value for January, February, and March this year was 2.0 degrees Celsius. The weak El Niño which began in March last year grew stronger in August.
On a regular day, Malaysia’s weather would peak at around 31 to 33 degrees Celsius, but the recent heat wave had seen it spike to 39 degrees Celsius in one area in the Northern state of Perlis, which borders Thailand.
The weather had also brought on droughts and water crisis in some areas throughout the country.
— Malaysian (@twitmsian) April 16, 2016
Madius said the strength of the El Niño phenomenon reached its highest level in December 2015 when the ONI reached 2.3 degrees Celsius, adding that this value was the same as the El Niño which struck in 1997 and 1998.
Since April 6, four areas in the country recorded more than 24 days without rain.