Malaysia: Supermoon's tidal effect to last for a week, Terengganu braces for floods

SIM BAK HENG New Straits Times 15 Nov 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Swimmers, picnickers, tourists and beach combers have been warned to avoid activities in or near coastal areas and rivers as the high tide phenomenon is expected to persist for the next week following Monday’s supermoon effect.

The advisory was issued by the State Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID), as forecasts predict tide levels of up to 3.5 metres high, especially in the flood-prone Kemaman district.

The supermoon effect is expected to be compounded by the northeast monsoon impact this year, with a notably higher and prolonged tidal level.

So far, two people have died in the current monsoon season after the boat they were in capsized in Sungai Chegar Batang in Besut.

State DID director C. Poobalan said all islands off Terengganu have been off-limits to tourism activities since early this month, following the start of the northeast monsoon.

He said this did not mean that rivers and coastal areas are safer. "Do not underestimate the waves at coastal areas, especially the undercurrent which will pull you into the water any time. What I mean is to stop from all swimming activity.

"Even collecting shellfish near riverbanks or estuaries is not safe due to swift river currents.

Refrain from all water-related activities – at least from this month until February, or when the monsoon is over," he said in an interview.

The latest tidal-level data shows that Kemaman will see a tidal level of between 3.2m to 3.5m, from 9.15pm to 1.30am daily this week.

In Kuala Terengganu, the tidal level will range from 2.6m to 2.7m, from 10.45pm to 2am daily for the next one week starting today.

Meanwhile, the supermoon effect saw different reactions from the public yesterday, with some treating the event like a carnival as they waited near estuaries to see the biggest moon in their lifetime – as well as the anticipated high tides.

But Rokiah Ali, 73, from Kampung Mengabang Tengah in Kuala Nerus, whose house is just five metres away from the sea, said she was in no mood to enjoy the supermoon.

"I have already shifted my belongings, especially electrical appliances and gas stove and tank, to higher ground.

The past floods still haunt me, as I incurred huge losses," she said.

Weather forecast puts a damper on Terengganu folk’s joy
The Star 16 Nov 16;

KUALA TERENGGANU: Many in Terengganu were relieved that Monday’s supermoon did not cause tidal waves, floods or significant rise in sea levels here. However, their joy may be short-lived.

Three more instances of high tides along with heavy rains are expected from mid-December.

The forecast during the period includes daily thunderstorms that may cause rivers to swell, said Terengganu Civil Defence Depart­ment director Lt Kol Che Adam A. Rahman.

“Floods are expected if there is continuous rainfall of more than 100mm a day,” he said.

However, the showers were not expected to be as heavy as those in 2014, which caused massive floods and mass evacuations, he added.

The state’s disaster management committee had spent the last month preparing for the floods.

Rescue drills involving all relevant agencies included flood evacuation operations.

The Department of Irrigation and Drainage would monitor water levels at 38 stations and instal early warning sirens at 23 locations, said Che Adam.

Web cameras to monitor floods at eight locations, he added, had been installed in five districts.

Che Adam also assured the public that the department and other agencies were prepared with adequate assets and personnel.

237 Klang residents evacuated over flood concerns
The Star 16 Nov 16;

PORT KLANG: Fear of floods during the extra high tide due to the recent supermoon has forced 237 people into two evacuation centres here.

Klang Fire and Rescue Depart­ment headquarters zone chief Amerhaizal Sahak said the 68 families from Kampung Tok Muda and Mile 5 Jalan Kapar volunteered to leave their homes over worries of flood bunds giving way.

Water levels in Kampung Tok Muda rose to 5.5m but not above the bunds, he said.

Firemen had earlier reinforced the bunds with sandbags near a fishing jetty to prevent flooding.

Some river water did flow over bunds near the Mile 5 Jalan Kapar stretch, Amerhaizal added, but not enough to cause flooding.

Selangor Health, Welfare, Women and Family Affairs exco committee chairman Dr Daroyah Alwi said meals and health checks would be provided to the families being housed in two multipurpose halls in the north Klang district.

Malaysian Fisheries Development Authority (LKIM) chairman Datuk Seri Dr Irmohizam Ibrahim assured the public of ample stocks of fish despite fishermen not being able to go out to sea.

The National Fishermen’s Assoc­iation had been asked to release frozen stocks to meet consumer demands throughout the country, he said.

“In doing so, we will be able to ensure that prices of fish are stable and the supply is adequate.”

Frozen stock are fish caught and kept in cold storage to ensure food security.

Dr Irmohizam added that LKIM had advised fishermen not to go to sea until Nov 18, when the extra high tide phenomenon ends.

Supermoon causes two king tides in Penang
The Star 16 Nov 16;

GEORGE TOWN: Penang experienced two king tides around midnight and again at noon yesterday, said Penang Astronomical Society president Dr Chong Hon Yew.

The exceptionally high tides were due to the perigee-syzygy phenomenon, also known as a supermoon.

“The king tide is caused by the combined gravitational attraction of the moon and the sun on the water in Earth’s ocean,” Dr Chong said.

He said at around midnight, the total gravitational force from the moon, which was vertically overhead, and the sun below created the king tide.

The same thing happened at midday when the sun was vertically overhead and the moon was below, with the total gravitational force causing the second king tide.

“Six hours before and after each king tides occurred, we experienced exceptionally low tides,” he said.

These exceptionally high and low tides will continue for the next few days.

Dr Chong added that there would be lower tides on Nov 21, when a third quarter moon is set to occur.

Some 20 houses in Kampung Manis, Prai, were flooded due to the king tide phenomenon between 1am and 3am yesterday.

Penang Civil Defence Department director Pang Ah Lek said floodwaters in the village reached up to 0.45m.

“Sungai Perai overflowed after a 3.1m-high tide. The village is situated on a low-lying area near the river.

“However, no evacuation centres were opened,” he said in a statement here yesterday.

Over at the Esplanade, the situation was generally calm despite high water levels after midnight yesterday.

People were seen enjoying hawker food at Weld Quay, where most of the Clan Jetties are located.

Several villages on the mainland were also flooded after a downpour on Monday.

The affected villages were Kam­pung Tok Konan, Kampung Haji Musa, Kampung Manggis, Kampung Bukit Teh and Taman Jambu in Bukit Mertajam, and Kampung Nenas in Sungai Kechil, Nibong Tebal.