MIRI: People frequently commuting by land into the rural frontiers of northern Sarawak are worried about the increasingly bad weather lately.
Heavy rain with strong wind has lashed parts of northern Sarawak and dark clouds have been looming menacingly over the horizon; and there are worries that the monsoon season may be coming earlier than the usual year-end period.
A check with the Meteorological Department, confirmed that the southwest monsoon is setting in – but it does not mean that a full-scale landas – a local word for monsoon – is on its way.
Still, frequent travellers plying the timber routes between Miri city and the vast hinterland of Baram and the mountainous interior of Bakelalan are worried.
Cargo-handler Andrew Yeo told StarMetro that it was risky to transport foodstuff and fuel using timber roads, which were made of mud and gravel, such as in Long San.
“Those intending to use the timber tracks will have to keep a close watch on the weather pattern on a daily basis because roads in the low areas can be easily flooded.
“Dark clouds are constantly looming overhead, and already several flood-prone riverine settlements along the Tutoh-Apoh river basin have been hit by overflowing river over the past week,” he said.
Remote settlements such as Long Panai and Long Laput are low-lying and thus easily flooded every year when the rivers burst their banks.
At the moment there have been no major flood but on Monday evening, the nothern coastal shores of Sarawak stretching until Sabah were hit by strong winds and heavy rain.
The Ramadan bazaar at the Miri Indoor Stadium were also hit by strong winds that ripped apart a few dozen stalls.
Losses were reportedly around RM60,000 but repair works had already been done at the site.
The wind and rain lashed Miri from about 6.45pm to about 8.30pm.
It was reported that the situation was worse in parts of Sabah.