News: Six months dry spell if El Nino hits Malaysia

NST, 7 May 2014

KUALA LUMPUR: The United Kingdom Meteorological Office has forecasted a high likelihood of El Nino striking Southeast Asia (SEA) in the middle of the year.

Local weather experts could not yet ascertain whether Malaysia would be affected, but the phenomenon would inevitably lead to a dry spell lasting about six months for the country. The experts have already cautioned the relevant authorities to make early preparations in facing El Nino and avoid a serious water crisis. Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) president, S. Piarapakaran said the institution, using the El Niño Southern Oscillation (ENSO)model had forecasted a 70 per cent probability of El Nino in SEA.
“Awer had sought the cooperation of the UK meteorological office for an alternative view on the possibility of an El Nino in the SEA region and its impact on the climate in peninsula Malaysia,” he told Bernama here.  Should the effect be intense, about 60 per cent of consumers in Selangor and Kuala Lumpur are expected to face a worse drought compared to the water crisis in the past two months. Meanwhile, Prof Dr Abdull Rahim Mohd Yusoff, who is Environment and Water Resource Management Institute director at Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, said El Nino normally occurred once every two to four years.
“Signs of El Nino were observed early this year where the rainfall was less than 50 mm in many areas.”… if El Nino is really going to hit Malaysia, the authorities responsible in managing water must be prepared very early on,” he warned. The phenomenon struck Malaysia in 1998, during which 40.1 degree Celsius was recorded at the Chuping meteorological station in Perlis on April 9, that year. Meanwhile, Malaysian meteorological department director general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail when contacted, confirmed that the World Meteorology Organisation, United Nations was monitoring El Nino. — BERNAMA

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