Expect erratic weather events, climate change to blame, experts say

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PETALING JAYA: It can be very hot one day and rain cats and dogs the next.

So what can Malaysians expect for Chinese New Year?

According to meteorologists, climate change has caused a surprising change in weather patterns in recent years and people should prepare for it.

Although Chinese New Year is usually associated with hot weather in Malaysia which normally ends in late February with the inter-monsoon season bringing thunderstorms, extreme weather and lightning expert Hartono Zainal Abidin said that recent years, however, the thunderstorms had started earlier.

“Last year it started before mid-February and this year it started a few days ago.

“This is a surprising climate regime shift and it could be due to climate change,” he said.

He said the predicted dry season between June and August last year also failed to occur, adding that there were instead frequent thunderstorms throughout the period.

Malaysia, Hartono said, is currently heading towards the end of the northeast monsoon, adding that the inter-monsoon season is expected to start in mid-March.

“The monsoon season will continue until March, but thunderstorms may occur intermittently.

“People should be on their guard as severe thunderstorms this week brought not only lightning but also mini-tornadoes that toppled trees and damaged roofs in the Hulu Kelang area.

“They should stay indoors when thunder strikes and be prepared for high winds when in a car,” he said.

The President of the Malaysian Water and Energy Research Association, S. Piarapakaran, also warned of the global potential risk of climate change and its impact on our weather patterns.

“Malaysia receives rainfall throughout the year. Some seasonal patterns increase precipitation and others reduce it.

“The recent erratic weather pattern is a guide for us to always be on our toes.

“We warned about erratic weather conditions and their impact on water safety some time ago,” he said, adding that the most important thing was to have proper planning and preparation. for the worst case scenario.

He said it was imperative that the government update and improve its adaptation and mitigation measures at the federal, state and local levels.

“Water is essential for all of us. Too much rain causes flooding and too little drought.

“Authorities should also be on the lookout for suspicious activity near rivers that could pollute water and cause supply disruptions,” he said.

Regarding the flash floods at Taman Sri Muda in December which claimed several lives, he said, “The flash floods have many reasons, such as clogged drains, lower drainage capacity compared to the surrounding development, as well as high rainfall intensity. There must be a long term plan for Taman Sri Muda, especially after the big flood,” he added.

Regarding the Seri Kembangan landslide, Piarapakaran said authorities need to do more to find out what happened.

“The high velocity flow of surface runoff, especially during heavy downpours, can impact soil stability and drainage structure.

“Authorities need to carry out more investigations to find out the real cause of this incident and ensure that other structures in the building are safe,” he added.

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