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Thursday December 21, 2006

Typhoon Utor to blame

CYBERJAYA: The flood havoc seen in Johor and other states is the result of a new weather phenomenon. 

And while people in Johor can look forward to improving conditions by tomorrow, those in Pahang, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and the Klang Valley should remain on the lookout, possibly up to Sunday. 

Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Datuk Seri Dr Jamaluddin Jarjis said the heavy rainfall was brought by strong winds from the South China Sea and western part of the Pacific Ocean, the after-effect of Typhoon Utor which hit the Philippines recently. 

“This is certainly not your traditional monsoon rains. This is a new phenomenon,” he told a press conference here yesterday.  

“However, according to the Meteorological Department, the winds are tailing off, and rains that will fall in these states will be of lesser gravity than what Johor has experienced.” 

Dr Jamaluddin said the situation in Johor should improve by Friday, but relief agencies and the authorities in Pahang, Malacca, Negri Sembilan and Selangor should, however, remain on the alert. 

“I hope the relevant agencies in these states are prepared for any eventuality.  

“While the rainfall is expected to be less heavy than seen in Johor, the situation may warrant the evacuation of people,” he added.  

Meanwhile, the Meteorological Department said in a statement that heavy rains were expected to continue over Malacca, Negri Sembilan, south and east Pahang and south Terengganu up to Sunday. 

When contacted, a department spokesman said the rains were not the sole reason for the floods as there were other contributing factors such as development and the drainage system in any particular area. 

He also refuted claims that these were the heaviest rains Johor had encountered over the past 100 years.  

According to him, the rainfall readings recorded from Dec 1 to yesterday at the four monitoring stations in Johor were only slightly higher than last year’s. 

The station at Senai recorded 623mm of rainfall compared with 456.4mm at Kluang, 279mm at Batu Pahat and 182.2mm in Mersing.  

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