MANILA: The Philippines is bracing for more blistering weather as temperatures in the capital region rose to a record high over the weekend.

Unusually hot temperatures have been recorded across South and Southeast Asia in recent days, forcing schools to close and authorities to issue health warnings.

In Metro Manila on Saturday, the mercury hit 38.8 degrees Celsius, surpassing the previous record set in 1915.

Elsewhere in the country, the weather has been even hotter, with Tarlac province seeing the mercury hit 40.3 degrees earlier in the year.

The hottest ever temperature recorded in the Philippines was 42.2 degrees in 1912.

Glaiza Escullar of state weather agency PAGASA told Arab News it was likely that some parts of the country would continue to see temperatures of 40 degrees and above until the second week of May.

March, April and May are typically the hottest and driest months of the year, but conditions this year have been exacerbated by the El Nino weather phenomenon.

The heat index, which also takes into account humidity, reached 45 degrees on Saturday, which the weather agency classifies as “danger.” It said it could hit 46 degrees on Monday.

“We are issuing a heat index warning just to emphasize that apart from the hot weather or high temperature, relative humidity has a factor in terms of health,” Escullar said.

“If (a person) is dehydrated or he is not in a good condition, the body tends to overheat because the sweating process is slowed down by the high relative humidity.”

In response to the searing heat and a nationwide transport strike, the Department of Education announced on Sunday that all public schools would be closed on Monday and Tuesday but that classes would be held remotely.

Jeepney drivers are staging a three-day strike in protest at the government’s plan to phase out the iconic vehicles.

Many schools in the Philippines do not have air conditioning and several were forced to close earlier this month and hold remote classes in a reminder of the COVID-19 pandemic.

High school student Ivan Garcia told Arab News the soaring heat was affecting his studies.

“The weather is annoyingly hot … I cannot focus on doing my school work,” he said.

Ninth-grader Adrian Reyes said he preferred to work from home.

“I usually leave the house around noontime and it’s really a challenge especially for me and others like me who have to commute to get to school,” he said.

“I prefer the asynchronous mode of learning because we have aircon at home.”


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