Sarawak still ‘safe’ despite El Nino — Minister

Madius watering plants which he just planted at the new Miri Meteorology Office along Miri Airport Road as others look on.

Madius watering plants which he just planted at the new Miri Meteorology Office along Miri Airport Road as others look on.

MIRI: Sarawak is still ‘safe’ despite the El Nino phenomenon currently sweeping the state, with the highest temperature of 36.1 degrees Celsius recorded in Limbang last month.

Science, Technology and Innovation (Mosti) Minister Datuk Seri Panglima Madius Tangau said this was because the height of the phenomenon had passed last month and the state would fully recover from it by June.

“The transition of northeast monsoon to southwest monsoon will bring implication to weather changes including heat wave and dry spells, and this El Nino phenomenon will slowly end in June,” he told a press conference here yesterday.

The press conference was held in conjunction with the World Meteorology Day 2016 and the launching of Miri Meteorology Office and Meteorology Radar Station at Airport Road.

Though the peninsula recorded a higher temperature which led to closure of schools in some states, Madius said the temperature in Sarawak was not that high.

“The government has set up a National Haze, Heat Wave and Dry Spell Committee to handle issues related to this heat wave phenomenon, including cloud seeding, school closures and others,” he said.

Madius advised the public to reduce outdoor activities and drink at least three litres of water a day to overcome heat wave and avoid direct heat or heat stroke.

He disclosed that the government had approved a RM68-million allocation to improve the capability and services of the Malaysia Meteorology Department (METMalaysia) including in Sarawak.

“Sarawak has eight meteorology stations and I, as the minister in charge, am satisfied with the services provided by METMalaysia in Sarawak, especially in terms of weather forecasting,” he said.

Commenting on the new Miri Meteorology Office, he said it is a one-stop-centre for the public to get updates on weather forecast, climate warnings and sea conditions, and is equipped with monitoring devices including tsunami watch.

“Miri Meteorology Radar Station started operation on July 1, 2010 and is responsible for monitoring the weather in Miri, Marudi, Bario, Ba Kelalan, Limbang, Lawas and northern Bintulu. At the moment, Sarawak has three radar stations which are in Kuching, Bintulu and Miri,” he said.

He added Miri Meteorology Office also compiles all data related to weather, wind direction, air pressure, air moisture and visibility.

Also present at the function were Mosti deputy secretary-general Prof Madya Dr Ramzah Dambul, METMalaysia director-general Datuk Che Gayah Ismail and Sarawak Meteorology Office director Wong Teck Kiong.