Malaysians urged to brace for the worst in face of changes in weather pattern

By SIRA HABIBU and YVONNE LIM newsdesk@thestar.com.my

Vehicles negotiating floodwaters over a stretch of the Damansara-Puchong Highway in Puchong on Sunday.

PETALING JAYA: The changing weather pattern is disrupting the daily routine of Malaysians as heavy rains lashed most of Klang Valley and other parts of the country yet again.

Malaysians have been advised to brace for the worst, as flash floods could occur even in areas not usually known to be flood-prone, said Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Seri Douglas Uggah Embas.

Attributing the unpredictable weather to global climate change, he said the public should be prepared for any eventualities, citing how Kajang, Selangor, was unexpectedly hit by floods on Friday.

Yesterday evening, almost 100 trees were uprooted in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor as strong winds ravaged the city.

The rains were so heavy that many motorists had to stop their cars, afraid to drive further due to poor visibility.

Douglas said he had also called on relevant agencies to be on stand-by to implement mitigation measures quickly.

“They must also ensure that the flood warning system in all states are in proper working condition,” he said.

As at yesterday, 870 flood victims were evacuated to seven relief centres in five states, as the National Security Council issued flood alerts in Ledang (Johor), Manjung and Kerian (Perak), Alor Gajah (Malacca), Sepang (Selangor) and Sri Aman (Sarawak).

It was bumper-to-bumper traffic along Jalan Tun Razak in Kuala Lumpur when the freak thunderstorm and strong winds tore through the capital and parts of Selangor, causing flash floods, uprooting trees and damaging property.

Douglas said the severe floods in Thailand that lasted for weeks was also a result of global climate change.

“We will look into concerted efforts to address this change,” said Douglas, who is in Durban, South Africa, for the United Nations Climate Change Conference.

Meteorological Department director-general Dr Yap Kok Seng said the current La Nina phenomenon provided “favourable conditions” for thunderstorms.

The department has issued a warning on strong winds and rough seas.

“Thunderstorms over waters off Selangor, east Johor (Kota Tinggi), Pahang, Terengganu, Kelantan, Kuching, Labuan, Sabah (interior, west Coast and Sandakan), Straits of Malacca and Layang-layang are expected to continue.”

Article Source http://thestar.com.my/news/story.asp?file=%2F2011%2F12%2F5%2Fnation%2F10034369&sec=nation

Related Stories:
Freak storm and strong winds wreak havoc across the Klang Valley
Kajang still recovering after flood damage
Kuantan not spared either

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