State Bracing for El Niño

It is generally predicted that El Niño will hit the whole region of South East Asia sometime soon, with some countries hit harder than the rest. Read more below to find out how this weather pattern will affect Borneo and how Malaysia is preparing for any potential disaster that may arise.

Read more on The Borneo Post.

Read more about climate change in Borneo, then join the discussion on Facebook and Twitter.

KUCHING: El Niño will definitely be setting in but how hard Sarawak will be impacted will only be known by mid July.

State Meteorological Department said it had been generally predicted that El Niño will hit the whole region of South East Asia, with some countries hit harder than the rest.

“El Niño will definitely set in. It may come in less than six months or as long as 18 months. We are waiting for it. It may impact us very hard or it may not. We will have to wait until mid July to know exactly if we are going to be badly affected,” a spokesman for the department told The Borneo Post yesterday.

On the prediction by Malaysia Meteorological Department director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail that Sarawak and Sabah would be suffering from dryer spell than Peninsular Malaysia this time, the spokesman said he could not say for sure if Sarawak would be affected.

“It is just a prediction. It may not happen. We will have to wait until mid July.”

According to Che Gayah, the longer dry weather (June to November) would hit Malaysia this time due to two factors – the El Niño and the dry south westerly wind, where Sarawak and Sabah would be hit harder compared to Peninsular Malaysia.

She predicted that between July and September, Malaysia would receive 20 to 40 per cent less rainfall than the corresponding period last year.

Peninsular Malaysia received below 200mm of rainfall last year while Sarawak and Sabah received between 100mm and 150 mm.

Meanwhile, controller of the state Natural Resources and Environment Board (NREB) Peter Sawal said the state Disaster and Relief Committee would call all the relevant agencies to a meeting soon to discuss how best to prepare for the possible dry weather this time.

He said the state was always well prepared for the dry spell and this year was no exception. Whether the weather would be dryer as predicted, the Disaster and Relief Committee would call for a meeting to brace for it.

“The state always holds a meeting in June to prepare for the dry season ahead. All the relevant agencies will be present to discuss issues such as water supply, distribution of water, relief measures to be taken and areas that may possibly be hit hardest by the drought.

“Among the departments called to the meeting are NREB, Department of Environment (DOE), Fire and Rescue Department, State Meteorological Department and Welfare Department because each has a role to play.

“For us, we will review all applications for open burning permits to ensure that the (hot) weather is not made worse by man-made factors,” he said.

Cover Image: VOA

First Image: NASA

Second Image: The Star