We do not predict floods, says weatherman

  • Nation
  • Saturday, 17 Jan 2015

Close monitoring: The role of the National Weather Centre is to forecast the weather, not floods.

PETALING JAYA: The Malaysian Meterological Department (MetMalaysia) says it has been wrongly blamed for what some say is its “failure to warn” people about the recent massive floods in east coast states.

MetMalaysia meteorological officer Ambun Dindang said the public had misconstrued the department’s role.

“Our role is to forecast the weather, which is not the same as predicting whether there will be flooding or not, or its severity, if at all.

“There’s a misconception. We are not in the business of flood prediction,” he told The Star.

Ambun said the third monsoon surge that caused major floods in Kelantan, Terengganu and Pahang were detected by the department on Dec 14.

As per standard operating procedures, MetMalaysia informed 11 different agencies, including the National Security Council, the police and the Fire and Rescue Department.

Ambun added that warnings were issued via e-mail, fax and short message services.

“We also informed the public via our daily live broadcast over television and public announcements over radio,” he said.

MetMalaysia’s warning are categorised as yellow, which indicates monsoon rain is expected to occur in two or three days; orange, which indicates moderate monsoon rain is currently occurring or expected to occur in the next 24 hours; and red, which means heavy widespread monsoon rain is currently occurring or expected to occur in the next few hours.

Ambun said a total of 11 yellow, 12 orange and two red stage heavy rainfall warnings were issued between Dec 14 and Dec 19.

However, he said the department was reviewing standard operating procedures to keep the public better informed of the arrival of inclement weather.

He said MetMalaysia, in collaboration with Radio Television Malaysia, would increase air time for weather forecasts over TV1 from three to four times daily during the north-east monsoon season (typically from November to March), other than posting warnings on Facebook and Twitter.

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