Malaysia: East coast may be hit by second flood wave

New Straits Times 7 Dec 13;

WARNING: Four states could face the brunt

A SECOND wave of floods is expected to hit the east coast in the third week of December, the Malaysian Meteorological Department said yesterday.

Its central forecast division director, Muhammad Helmi Abdullah, said there would be a series of heavy rainfall between the third week of December and February, next year.

He said the second wave of floods would likely hit Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan and Johor.
The prolonged heavy rainfall, he said, would coincide with the presence of the full moon on Dec 17, which would result in unusually high tides.

"Heavy rainfall is common during the monsoon season, but it is the combination of high tides and strong winds that cause severe flooding in flood prone areas."

He advised the public to be on alert and keep themselves updated with the latest developments to ensure they were prepared.

National Security Council secretary Datuk Mohamed Thajudeen Abdul Wahab said alerts would be sent out to government agencies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and volunteers to be prepared for the second wave of floods.

"We have to prepare food supplies and other relief items."

Thajudeen said various NGOs and government agencies, including police, Rela and Civil Defence Department, would be notified to prepare the relief items, including dry food.

Meanwhile, Helmi said the second wave of floods would be caused by "monsoon surges" (strong bursts of cold air from Siberia).

"Cold air will flow out of Siberia towards the coastal waters of China before heading towards the peninsula.

"Winds from the Pacific will combine with the northeasterly winds, creating rain clouds which will bring about heavy rainfall."

He said there may be two more widespread flooding episodes in January and February next year due to heavy rainfall.

He said the east coast of Sabah and west and central Sarawak may be affected by the rainfall next year.

On the worsening flood situation every year, he said it was because of "extreme weather" conditions.

"We have not seen notable changes in the amount of rainfall in Malaysia. The more severe thunderstorms and rainfall these days could be due to climate change."

Helmi said the department would issue an advisory on the level of warning (yellow, orange or red) should there be prolonged heavy rainfall.

The yellow alert is to make people aware of the weather condition and to take preventive action.

The orange alert implies that floods are already occurring and to warn those in affected areas to prepare to act if the situation worsens.

The red alert is issued when there is severe weather and major floods.

Helmi added that these warnings were only based on the rainfall pattern and not on the severity of flood conditions.

He said there had been two episodes of heavy rainfall so far.

The first occurred between Nov 18 to 22 and the second ended on Thursday.

"After the first period of heavy rainfall, the river levels rose, leading to a yellow alert in Kelantan and Terengganu.

"The second episode was quite severe because it occurred together with high tides."
He said there were many factors that caused floods.

"The first wave was due to the presence of a new moon, high tides and strong winds that pushed the sea water up to the shores.

"The strong northeasterly monsoon winds over the South China Sea pushed the sea water, causing it to rise to its highest level, covering much of the shore and into the river mouth and this caused the water to overflow."

This, together with high tides, worsened the condition as the water could not flow out into the river and sea, he added.

Flood situation getting worse
The Star 7 Dec 13;

KUALA TERENGGANU: The number of evacuees in the flood-hit states is continuing to rise as the flood situation continues to worsen.

In Terengganu, the number of flood evacuees rose to 7,337 yesterday evening with Dungun registering the biggest increase among the districts.

Up to 4,340 people have been evacuated in Dungun, from 2,668 in the morning. The National Security Council (MKN) portal reported that Kemaman also registered an increase of over 100 evacuees to 2,472.

The number of evacuees dropped in the districts of Marang and Hulu Terengganu to 42 (from 63) in Marang and 483 (844) in Hulu Terengganu.

The portal said the floods in Besut and Setiu districts receded completely and all the evacuees were allowed to return to their homes yesterday.

Three people have been confirmed drowned in Pahang even as the number of flood evacuees began to drop.

The bodies of Pekan Umno committee member Jamali Jani, 45, and his son, Mohd Nazli, 17, were found yesterday after they went missing on Wednesday when they fell into the floodwaters in Sungai Isap.

Mohamed Alif Khalid, 21, drowned on Wednesday while fishing alone at Sungai Kampung Sepial in Kuala Tembeling, Jerantut.

A spokesman of the Pahang police flood operations room said the number of evacuees had dropped to 32,808 from 34,235 in the morning.

He said the evacuees were from eight districts, namely Kuantan, Pekan, Rompin, Maran, Jerantut, Lipis, Temerloh and Bera.

Kuantan district continues to have the highest number of evacuees, at 27,385, who are being housed at 48 relief centres.

The spokesman said Rompin district had 1,167 evacuees at 14 relief centres; Pekan, 3,218 at 18 centres; Maran, 49 at two centres; Jerantut, 472 at 11 centres; Lipis, 33 at two centres; Temerloh, 419 at five centres and Bera, 65 at five centres.

Several stretches of road remain closed, among them Jalan Sungai Lembing-Kuantan at Km28, Jalan Kuantan-Segamat at Km72, Jalan Kuantan-Rompin at Km62 and Jalan Temerloh-Bahau at Km14. —Bernama.