Malaysia: Start preparing for floods, urges Minister

LOSHANA K. SHAGAR The Star 10 Jul 16;

PETALING JAYA: The National Disaster Management Agency is coordinating disaster preparedness and flood mitigation plans for La Nina, which is expected to occur by year-end.

Science, Technology and Inno­va­tion Minister Datuk Seri Madius Tangau said while most climate models had the same prediction on La Nina, the occurrence could only be confirmed after October.

“In Malaysia, the La Nina will usually lead to increase in rainfall over Sabah and the northern part of Sarawak, especially during the north-east monsoon period.

“As La Nina is usually associated with heavy rains, floods are therefore expected to occur especially in low-lying areas,” he told The Star.

As the Philippines and Taiwan floundered under the onslaught of Super Typhoon Nepartak, inter­national weather forecasters have predicted a possible deluge in Malaysia in the next few months.

The La Nina is likely to be here at the tail end of the strongest El Nino in 20 years, which brought scorching heat and dry days.

A report by the US National Ocea­nic Atmospheric Administra­tion Climate Prediction Centre indicates that La Nina will occur with a 75% certainty.

At the moment, Madius said Ma­­laysia was experiencing the south-west monsoon, which is expected to last until mid-September.

During this time, there would be less rain and a likelihood of haze but Madius said that isolated heavy rains and thunderstorms could still occur in the afternoons.

“A pre-dawn heavy rain with thunderstorms and strong winds caused by moving lines of thunderstorms from the sea towards the land (squall lines) can occasionally occur over the coastal areas of Selangor, Negri Sembi­lan, Malacca, western Johor, west Sabah and Sarawak,” he said.

Madius advised the public to avoid low-lying areas prone to flooding and keep updated with the latest weather information.

“MetMalaysia will continuously monitor the latest development of the La Nina, and the latest information on weather will be updated from time to time, and is available at www.met.gov.my, our hotline 1-300-221-638 and the myCuaca mobile apps,” he said.

Weatherman sees more rainfall in southern Sarawak
YU JI The Star 10 Jul 16;

KUCHING: Southern Sarawak could receive slightly higher than average rainfall this month and later this year, the Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasts.

In a long-range weather outlook for July to December, it said Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and Sibu could receive between 210mm and 280mm of rain this month, which is usually the driest of the year.

Rainfall should return to normal patterns until November, when a slight spike is expected again: Kuching and Samarahan could receive 420-490mm, while Sri Aman and Betong could get up to 500mm.

In December, the MET says Kuching and Samarahan could receive up to 500mm of rainfall.

The outlook, released earlier this month, concludes that the El Nino phenomenon has passed, and the probability of La Nina developing is 75% but that only parts of Sabah might be affected in September.

For the week ahead in Sarawak, isolated thunderstorms should occur on most afternoons and some nights.

Tuesday could be a scorcher with no rain forecast. A maximum of 34 °C is expected, making it possibly the hottest day of the week.

Meanwhile, according to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), which monitors haze, the entire region is now classified at Level 1 given the start of the dry season.

“Hotspot counts in Sumatra and Kalimantan have remained low in the last few weeks, but are expected to increase as the dry season progresses. On June 28 and 29, ASMC detected three and nine hotspots respectively in central Sumatra,” it said.

“The prevailing south-west monsoon is expected to strengthen and persist over the next few months. Extended periods of dry weather can be expected, which could lead to elevated hotspot activities in fire-prone areas.”

According to satellite imagery Sunday, 11 hotspots were picked up in Sarawak and Sabah, and 10 in Kalimantan.

ASMC’s Level 2 classification is for areas with more than 150 hotspots for two consecutive days.

Level 3, the most severe with more than 250 hotspots, was declared in September last year in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

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