Malaysia: Ushering in a rainy new year

YUEN MEIKENG The Star 28 Dec 15;

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians will likely usher in a wet new year, with a mild monsoon surge expected to occur between Dec 30 and Jan 2.

Lasting one to two days, the surge will bring with it intermittent rain, or showers that stop, only to continue again. Fortunately, the rainfall is not expected to be too severe, said Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail.

“Due to the surge, wet weather is expected over the east and southern parts of the peninsula including Pahang, Johor and Malacca. Areas in west Sarawak namely Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman, Betong, Sarikei, Mukah and Sibu will also be affected,” she said in an interview.

Over the next week, generally fair weather is expected nationwide with afternoon thunderstorms likely to pour over the west coast states of the peninsula, Sarawak and west Sabah. There may also be early morning rain over the coasts of Kelantan, Terengganu, Pahang, northern Sarawak and east Sabah.

While many Malaysians would be on holiday for the new year, Che Gayah urged the public to be more vigilant during the rainy season and be aware of the warnings issued for heavy rainfall as well as rough sea and strong winds.

Che Gayah said Malaysia was currently in the midst of the north-east monsoon season, expected to persist until second week of March 2016.

“During this season, the weather is relatively wetter compared to other seasons,” she added.

Che Gayah said the department had predicted that there will be about four heavy rainfall episodes due to the monsoon surge throughout this monsoon season. Until today, two heavy rainfall episodes have occurred during the current monsoon season – the first being from Nov 26 to 28 and the second from Dec 16 to 18.

“The department will continuously monitor for the next episodes and will also issue heavy rainfall warnings one to three days in advance,” she said.

On floods, Che Gayah said even if there are any cases of flooding especially in Sarawak or Sabah, they won’t be as severe as previous years.

She said no typhoon is expected over the South China Sea and the Philippines, and the public can read the latest updates in the department’s website at www.met.gov.my.

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