KUALA LUMPUR: THUNDERSTORMS and strong winds ripped through the northern states on Friday evening and yesterday as the tail end of Typhoon Lekima bore down on Peninsular Malaysia.
Malaysian Meteorological Department director-general Jailan Simon said the typhoon’s storm line stretched into southern Thailand, and this caused heavy rains and thunderstorms to strike northern states.
“The storm line was formed due to southwest and northwest winds concentrating at sea because of the tropical storm in eastern China. The strong wind direction was focused on southern Thailand, causing the storm line to move from northwest to southeast and (rain and thunderstorm) to strike several areas in Kedah, including Langkawi. The wind speed was recorded at 100kph.”
The storm, which began at 8pm on Friday, caused damage to business premises and private properties, and uprooted trees in Perlis, Kedah and Penang.
The Education Ministry said 329 schools and educational institutions in seven states were affected by the storm, causing an estimated RM20 million in damage.
It said 115 schools, three complexes of quarters, a training institute and two institutions of higher learning were damaged in Kedah, while 101 schools, four quarters and two training institutes were hit in Penang, as well as 58 schools in Perlis.
China has declared a red alert and Taiwan was battered with winds of more than 190kph as Lekima made landfall on the mainland.
Lekima, which is the ninth typhoon so far this year, strengthened into a super typhoon late
on Wednesday, but Taiwanese authorities later downgraded it to a regular typhoon as it lost strength.
In George Town, property damage was reported in various parts of Penang as the storms brought on by Lekima hit the state. More than 300 trees in 250 locations statewide were uprooted.
State Housing and Local Government Committee chairman Jagdeep Singh Deo said 180 trees were uprooted in 129 locations on the island, while 152 trees tumbled in 123 locations on the mainland, some crashing onto houses and cars.
He said both the Penang Island City Council (MBPP) and Seberang Prai Municipal Council (MPSP) had cleared more than 90 per cent of the fallen trees in their respective jurisdictions overnight.
“Work is ongoing. We are focusing on primary roads to ensure the traffic is not disrupted before moving on to secondary roads.
“We hope to complete the rest by later today (yesterday),” he said during a visit to the Iconic Vue affordable housing project yesterday.
Present were MBPP mayor Datuk Yew Tung Seang and MPSP president Datuk Rozali Mohamud.
Penang was hit by the tail end of the typhoon on Friday night, which resulted in heavy rains and strong winds of 180kph.
Jagdeep urged property owners affected by the typhoon to lodge police reports immediately to enable them to receive assistance from the state’s Tabung Bencana TYT.
Yew said uprooted trees were reported in several parts of Penang Hill. On a section of a pedestrian bridge in Green Lane on the island which reportedly collapsed, he said the overall structure was still intact.
“We have removed the tree which fell on the canopy structure and have removed the structure.”
Yew and Rozali assured their ratepayers that their teams were on the ground and working round-the-clock to clear the mess left by the typhoon.
Jagdeep said two temporary relief centres were opened in Seberang Prai Tengah and one in the northeast district, housing more than 50 people, whose houses were affected by the typhoon.
In Alor Star, Bernama reported that the Kedah Fire and Rescue Department received 87 reports of fallen trees in four areas yesterday morning due to the storm.
The department’s operations and rescue division assistant director, Mohamadul Ehsan Mohd Zain, said the areas involved were Kota Setar, Sungai Petani, Baling and Langkawi.
“There were 10 injured victims in the incident. We are still receiving reports of fallen trees.”
In Langkawi, police said up to 2am yesterday, they had received 35 storm damage reports.
District police chief Superintendent Mohd Iqbal Ibrahim said more reports were expected to be lodged as many locations on the island were affected in the incident.
“Police have received 35 reports on damaged properties. We have not received any report on loss of life in the storm. There were reports of injuries sustained by hotel workers and residents in the area who were hit by falling branches. They were given treatment.”
He was in Jalan Pantai Tengah here to monitor a clean-up operation to remove fallen trees and power cables on the road by the Langkawi Fire and Rescue Department, Civil Defence Force and police.
Members of Pantai Chenang Community Fire Squad, Tenaga Nasional Bhd contractors and members of the public assisted in the operation.
Ayer Hangat assemblyman Juhari Bulat said his office would conduct a survey to identify the total number of houses damaged in the area.
In a report by Bernama yesterday, Tenaga Nasional Bhd (TNB) said it received 1,595 complaints of power disruption in Kedah, Perlis and Penang.
TNB said 650 complaints had been attended to with restoration of power ongoing from 8.27pm on Friday. It cautioned the public against touching fallen or suspended wires to avoid electrocution.