La Nina may kick in by next month

Phenomenon could prolong moist weather in east coast, says MetMalaysia

PETALING JAYA: The La Nina phenomenon, which typically brings about wetter weather conditions, is expected to begin between July and September, says the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia).

Its director-general Muhammad Helmi Abdullah said the phenomenon typically reaches its peak towards the year-end and carries into early the next year.

“La Nina can last between five and 18 months. Based on international forecast models, the coming La Nina is expected to be at a weak or moderate strength,” he said when contacted.

Muhammad Helmi, however, pointed out that each La Nina episode is unique and may yield different outcomes.

“MetMalaysia will continue monitoring the situation closely and updating information regarding the country’s weather based on the latest input from various weather models,” he said.

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He also said La Nina, together with the northeast monsoon, which usually begins in November, could prolong moist weather conditions along the east coast of the peninsula up to March next year.

“Tropical storms are also expected to be more active in the west Pacific Ocean during a La Nina period. This can result in moist weather along the west coast of Sabah and northern Sarawak,” he said, adding that MetMalaysia will update this information from time to time.

The previous La Nina episode was in 2020 and only ended early last year. It was supposed to only last a year.

During that period, the Klang Valley experienced major flooding in December 2021 and March 2022. Baling in Kedah also experienced major floods in July 2022.

Universiti Teknologi Malaysia Disaster Preparedness and Prevention Centre director Dr Khamarrul Azahari Razak stressed the importance of integrating resilient infrastructure and development strategies across all stages, from design and construction to management and maintenance.

“We must adopt the Japanese model of the 3-Help – Public Help, Mutual Help and Self-Help – to foster a comprehensive societal resilience against climate-induced disasters,” he said.

Khamarrul Azahari also called for increased budgets for disaster risk reduction actions, adding that most climate-induced disasters have a local impact.

He said the risk transfer mechanism for businesses, especially small and medium enterprises, should also be enhanced.

“The cascading impact of climate risk to local businesses and livelihoods is prevalent.

“For example, about 62% of our agriculture zones are at high risk, and its impact is very systemic, especially to poor, marginalised and disadvantaged communities,” he said.

Khamarrul Azahari said hazard risk maps should be updated, on top of promptly disseminating disaster hotspot information and enhancing risk communication strategies.

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