Pre­pare for stormy days ahead, says weather depart­ment

The Star Malaysia - - Nation - By YIMIE YONG and CLARISSA CHUNG news­desk@thes­tar.com.my

PETALING JAYA: Bring out your um­brel­las and rub­ber boots be­cause heavy rains are ex­pected to lash out soon, bring­ing with it high chances of flood­ings.

Malaysian Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Depart­ment di­rec­tor-gen­eral Alui Ba­hari said the north-east mon­soon was ex­pected to last un­til March and has al­ready brought heavy rainfall to Ke­lan­tan and Tereng­ganu.

Rain will make its way to Pa­hang and Jo­hor be­fore shift­ing to Sabah and Sarawak later in the sea­son.

“Th­ese states are ex­pected to ex­pe­ri­ence four to six heavy rain­falls as in pre­vi­ous years,” he said.

Alui said the first three months of the mon­soon would be the worst.

“If heavy rainfall, high tides and strong winds oc­cur, it could cause rivers to over­flow,” he added.

The sit­u­a­tion could be wors­ened by spring tides that take place dur­ing the new and full moons.

While the east coast is typ­i­cally the worst hit by floods dur­ing the rainy sea­son, west coast res­i­dents should also be on the alert.

Last year, Pe­nang was also hit by ma­jor floods, where the state sought help from armed forces af­ter winds and rain lashed out, caus­ing land­slides and fall­ing trees.

How­ever, Alui said he did not ex­pect such rainfall over Pe­nang and Kedah this sea­son.

Univer­siti Ke­bangsaan Malaysia’s Pro­fes­sor of Cli­ma­tol­ogy and Oceanog­ra­phy Prof Dr Fredolin Tan­gang said the coun­try was en­ter­ing the mon­soon pe­riod ear­lier com­pared to the aver­age midNovem­ber on­set date.

How­ever, he said this was within the “nat­u­ral vari­abil­ity” of the mon­soon pe­riod, which was af­fected by phe­nom­ena such as El Nino.

“Sea sur­face tem­per­a­tures in the Eastern-Cen­tral Pa­cific Ocean are warmer than usual, in­di­cat­ing the pro­gres­sion of a weak El Nino by year end or early next year,” he said.

Due to this, he said, there was likely to be heav­ier rainfall in south­ern Penin­su­lar Malaysia, which in­cludes Jo­hor and the Klang Val­ley.

He added there was a low pos­si­bil­ity of ex­treme rainfall, which could lead to large-scale flood­ing as the Ke­lan­tan and Tereng­ganu floods in December 2014.

Ac­cord­ing to his re­search, three phe­nom­ena should take place for such ex­treme weather to oc­cur.

Firstly, he said there should be cold surges from the north and se­condly, the Bor­neo vor­tex, a wind cir­cu­la­tion sys­tem should be lo­cated close to Penin­su­lar Malaysia.

“The Mad­den-Julian Os­cil­la­tion (MJO) must also be ac­tive and its low pressure-cen­tre must be lo­cated near West Su­ma­tra,” he said.

The MJO is a phe­nom­e­non in which a low pressure sys­tem crosses east­ward from the In­dian Ocean to the Pa­cific Ocean.

The peo­ple can mon­i­tor weather and flood sit­u­a­tions through http:// por­tal­ben­cana.nadma.gov.my and www.met.gov.my or down­load rel­e­vant mo­bile ap­pli­ca­tions such as myCuaca and myJPS.

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