Malaysia: Heat islands in KL possible cause of hailstorm

Bernama New Straits Times 4 Jun 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: The extreme heat in the Klang Valley, especially in the Kuala Lumpur city centre, which created 'heat islands' could have been a factor contributing to the hailstorm which occurred here yesterday afternoon, according to a climate expert.

Climatologist and oceanographer at Universiti Kebangsaan Malaysia, Professor Dr Fredolin Tangang said the rapid development in Kuala Lumpur and the climate changes had resulted in thunderstorms caused by heat trapped inside a moisture surrounding.

"The moist conditions and phenomenon of wind updraft produce water droplets which form ice lumps which can no longer be supported by the wind.

"When these lumps become big and the winds can no carry them, they drop as ice, together with the rain which was what happened yesterday," he told Bernama here today.

About 6pm yesterday, parts of Kuala Lumpur were hit by a rare hailstorm and flash flood, causing traffic congestion and damaging buildings and homes.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall received 35 reports involving fallen trees while the Express Rail Link service between Bandar Tasik Selatan and Putrajaya was disrupted.

Tangang said the freak thunderstorm could happen more frequently after this due to climatic changes and rising temperatures.

"Research done overseas have shown scientific evidence that as the earth becomes warmer due to climatic changes, there will be more thunderstorms such as these," he added.

However, he said scientific studies on local climatic change factors had not been carried out, making it difficult for experts to predict the phenomenon.

"We do not have specific studies on the phenomenon as it rarely occurs here as compared to other countries like the United States or Europe.

"However, the concept of this phenomenon is the same anywhere, which is when there is moisture in the air and a rise in temperature, hailstorms will occur more frequently," he said.

Tangang urged more detailed studies on local factors be carried out so that the relevant parties could predict the weather in the future.
Meanwhile, in a statement today, the Meteorological Department said thunderstorms, heavy rains and strong winds in Beaufort, Kota Belud, Tuaran, Kota Kinabalu, Penampang and Papar in Sabah as well as Miri in Sarawak were expected to continue until late Saturday afternoon.

The statement said that thunderstorms were also expected to occur in the waters off Johor, Pahang, Kudat in Sabah and the Labuan Federal Territory and continue until early Saturday afternoon.

Hailstorms are not unusual, says ministry
The Star 5 Jun 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: The hailstorm that hit several parts of the city on Friday is not an unusual phenomenon, said Science, Innovation and Technology Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau.

He said hailstorms could happen during severe thunderstorms.

“When cumulonimbus clouds reach an altitude of 40,000ft, raindrops can form into chunks of ice,” he said in a statement.

He said the duration of hailstorms was short, only about 20 minutes, adding that such storms could happen at any time.

During a hailstorm, people should not be near windows and should take shelter in buildings, or under bridges if driving.

He said the ministry, through the Malaysian Meteorological Depart­ment, monitors the weather continuously and updates the public via the MetMalaysia hotline, 1-300-22-1MET(638), its website and social media.

Hailstorm and flash flood mayhem in KL
The Star 4 Jun 16;

PETALING JAYA: Heavy rain and hailstorm pelted the city, causing mayhem, stranding hundreds of motorists in traffic snarls and passengers on stalled train services.

As of 7pm, flash floods caused a traffic standstill around Batu Muda Tambahan towards Sentul, and along Jalan Hikmat Usaha near Masjid Wilayah, according to StarTraffic.

Flash floods were also re­­ported near Tung Shin Hos­pital along Jalan Pudu, Jalan Imbi and the Shah Alam Highway (Kesas) at the Indah Parade intersection in Sri Petaling.

Traffic congestion was also reported along Jalan Duta, near Jalan Semantan and major highways heading into the city.

Traffic police were de­­ploy­ed at the intersection between Jalan Pantai Baru and Bangsar to help ease traffic congestion that had built up due to flash floods and a fallen tree.

A fallen tree also caused massive jams in both directions along the KL-Seremban Highway near Technology Park Malaysia in Bukit Jalil.

Traffic was at a 5km crawl near the Gombak toll, heading to the city.

The harsh weather also brought ERL and LRT train services to a halt, stranding passengers after violent storms caused power disruptions to the Rapid KL’s LRT Sri Petaling Line.

“While services between Cheras and Sri Petaling stopped from 6.24pm, train services continued with longer waiting period between Awan Besar and Bandar Puteri,” said Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd CEO Ahmad Nizam Mohamed Amin.

LRT commuter K. Parkaran, 62, told the Star­Online that he and around 200 other passengers waited for more than two hours at the Sri Petaling station for the service to resume.

City Fire and Rescue Department chief operations officer Samsol Maarif Saibani said the department received reports of at least 45 fallen trees around the city as of 7.35pm.

Hailstones hit KL after thunderstorm
P. DIVAKARAN The Star 3 Jun 16;

PETALING JAYA: Hailstones struck several areas in Kuala Lumpur on Friday evening following a thunderstorm.

Members of the public reported incidents of hailstorms around Bukit Jalil just after 6pm.

Among them was Jasan Chan, 40, who was stuck in traffic along the New Pantai Expressway (NPE).

Chan told The Star Online that there was “zero visibility” as he recalled how the “hard hitting hails” had struck his vehicle.

Chan added that the incident was “scary” since he was stuck in traffic and was unable to move from his car.

He, however, said there was no damage to his vehicle.

Chan said he took the opportunity to document the incident through Facebook.

City folks who were on their way home from work had also related their experiences by sharing pictures through social media.

Bernama quoted Twitter user "faiqrusyaidie" who posted: "First time ever experiencing hujan batu (hailstones)."

Another Twitter user "dayahmayah" also shared pictures and posted, "MashaAllah (My God). hujan batu (hailstones) at my sister's office. Area Sg Besi. Praying and hoping that everyone's fine."

"First hujan batu experience ever. Literally soaked for almost 20 minutes," wrote Twitter user "FazaaMohamad".

Facebook user "Shahriza Mahmud" had posted a video of the incident at the North-South Expressway near Serdang, according to Bernama.

The hailstorm is also said to be the cause of a temporary power disruption that brought Putra Light Rail Transit (LRT) trains along the Ampang line to a halt.

Hailstorm blamed for LRT service breakdown
P. DIVAKARAN The Star 3 Jun 16;

PETALING JAYA: The power disruption which had caused Putra Light Rail Transit (LRT) trains to temporarily stop operations was due to a hailstorm that hit Kuala Lumpur on Friday.

In a statement issued by Prasarana Malaysia Berhad for Rapid KL, it said that services at three sub-stations - Sungai Besi, Bukit Jalil and Bandar Tasik Selatan - were affected after a hailstorm hit power stations on Friday evening, causing a power failure.

“While services between Cheras and Sri Petaling stopped from 6.24pm, train services continued with longer waiting period between Awan Besar and Bandar Puteri,” said its chief executive officer Ahmad Nizam Mohamed Amin.

The company said that all trains except for one were left stranded at the platforms and passengers were disembarked.

It also said that Rapid KL buses were dispatched to evacuate passengers at affected LRT stations but this was hampered due to heavy traffic caused by fallen trees.

“We are truly sorry for the inconvenience caused to our customers due to the unfortunate incident,” said Ahmad Nizam.

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