JOHOR BARU: The extraordinary amount of continuous rainfall in Penang and parts of Kedah since Saturday was caused by a low pressure area in the two states.
Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD) director-general Alui Bahari said that the low pressure area attracted strong winds and moisture which resulted in heavy rain that led the department to issue a Red Alert warning in the two states on Saturday night.
"The extraordinary rainfall, which was continuous in Penang and parts of Kedah on Nov 4 and 5, was due to low pressure area. This area became a focal point for winds and high level of moisture which resulted in continuous heavy rain and strong winds.
"This low pressure area had first taken shape in the South China Sea in the end of last month and it moved across southern Thailand before reaching Peninsular Malaysia on Nov 4," said Alui in a statement to the New Straits Times.
Alui said that rainfall readings at MMD stations in the north showed particularly high amount of rainfall that peaked on Saturday night.
He said areas such as Prai recorded 225.6mm of rainfall on Saturday, which was higher than the 5.6mm of rain recorded in the same area the previous day.
The rain in Prai decreased to 73.4mm as of 11am today.
Heavy rain also occured on Saturday in Butterworth (233mm), Bayan Lepas (174.5mm), Alor Star (41.4mm) and Chuping (39.6) in Perlis.
Explaining the recent weather patterns, Alui said that the MMD issued warnings of heavy rain for the past five days, and the information had been channeled to the National Disaster Management Agency (NADMA), other related agencies and disseminated via its Facebook page and website.
The MMD issued a Yellow Alert for Heavy Rain Warning on Nov 1 involving Kelantan, Terengganu, Perak, Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
"Continuous rain occured on Nov 2 to 3 in Kelantan, Terengganu and it moved to Perlis, Kedah and Penang on Nov 4.
"As heavy rained continued, the warning was upgraded to Orange Alert in the evening of Nov 4 for Perlis, Perak, Kedah and Penang.
"In the early part of last night (Nov 4), increasing heavy rain led to the MMD issuing a Red Alert for Penang and part of Kedah.
'"Until this morning, rain is expected to continue until tonight in the north. The category of heavy rain was reduced to Orange Alert because of a weakened low pressure area," said Alui.
He said cloudy and intermitent rain was forecast for the northern peninsula states tomorrow, and the condition is only expected to improve on Tuesday.
Alui rejected theories that the extraordinary and continuous heavy rain in the north could be blamed on the effects of the recent Typhoon Damrey in Vietnam.
"Weather changes as what we saw can cross over borders. But in this case, the heavy rain in the north may have had an indirect affect from the typhoon. We are still far away from the typhoon area," said Alui.