Malaysia: La Nina -- Get set for 12 months of rainfall

ALIZA SHAH New Straits Times 31 May 16;

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysians can expect more rainy days in the next few months as the La Nina phenomenon is expected to hit the country early November.

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Wilfred Madius Tangau said the phenomenon, which would start after October, would go on for up to 12 months.

"The La Nina phenomenon (with 75 per cent probability) is expected to occur after October. It typically extends for up to nine and 12 months.

"However, it is still early to predict its intensity as this can only be confirmed after October," he told the New Straits Times.

Madius said the strong La Nina effect could also shorten the period of the Northeast monsoon and cause the mean temperature to drop by between 0.5 degrees Celcius and 2 degrees Celcius.

"Generally, the La Nina phenomenon will cause the rainfall to be increased over Sabah and the eastern part of Sarawak, especially during the Northeast monsoon.

"During a strong La Nina, the mean temperature for the country can also be decreased between 0.5°C and 2°C and the period of the Northeast monsoon will be shortened," he added.

Madius added Malaysia was experiencing the Southwest Monsoon (SWM) which was expected to last until mid-September 2016 "Malaysia is currently experiencing the Southwest Monsoon (SWM) since the third week of May and is expected to last until mid-September 2016.

"During this season, weather conditions are relatively drier as compared to other seasons," he said.

Malaysia was enveloped in a sweltering heatwave which was first detected from March last year before it intensified last December.

The dry and hot spell which was expected to prolong until September due to the changing of the Southwest monsoon winds, had also resulted in schools in several states to be temporarily closed.

The El Nino phenomenon also caused water reserves in several states to deplete, and led to an increase in the number of peat and bush fires and also the return of the haze.

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