Flash floods have occurred in several places in Penang following several hours of downpour early this morning.
According to Bernama, heavy rain has been lashing five districts in Penang from 3am today, causing floods, landslides and traffic congestion, uprooting trees, and raising the water levels of two rivers to above the danger point in several areas, according to the state Fire and Rescue Department.
However, so far, there have been no reports of injuries or damage to property, and neither has anyone been evacuated due the floods, which reportedly reached up to 0.6 metres in some areas.
As at 11 am, it was still raining heavily.
Meanwhile, Penang state executive councillor in charge of local government, traffic management and flood mitigation Chow Kon Yeow said that the floods started at 7.30am.
The areas affected so far, he said, are as follows:
At a press conference with other state councillors, Chow reported that 100 places in Penang had been affected by lightning and the flash floods.
The Air Itam dam recorded 270mm of water, a record high.
Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said that the road leading to the dam had been blocked by a landslide, while he had received reports of an explosion at a TNB substation in Farlim, Air Itam.
Videos posted on Facebook show fallen trees and submerged cars. One particular video showed sedan cars almost half-submerged and being pushed back by the water.
The Penang Department of Irrigation and Drainage (JPS) said in a statement that the floods occurred from 4am to 9am today.
It listed a total of 19 affected areas in the Northeast region of the state, and said that the flood levels were between 0.1 to 0.6 metres.
The water levels at both Sungai Pinang and Sungai Air Itam were both at "danger level," at 3.2m and 7.32m respectively, it said. The sea water level during the floods, meanwhile, was at 1.6m.
Bernama further reported a spokesman of the North East District Department of Drainage and Irrigation said the two rivers had breached danger levels.
“The floodwaters in several areas in the North East District has reached up to 0.6 metres as at 9 am. However, there has been no evacuation of residents,” he said.
Short-term measures to be taken
Chow also said that short-term measures would be taken amid ongoing construction of more permanent solutions.
“Before the construction work is completed, we will take short-term measures to ensure the existing water management system is efficient in managing water flow.
“We understand the (flash) floods will continue...some of the construction work has been done, but some can only be carried out at the end of the year. They will take two to three years to complete,” he said.
He explained that JPS had been tasked with carrying out construction work in 47 flood hot spots in the state, and that the department has received more than RM100 million in funding from the federal government, state government, two local councils and developers.
More than 1,500 packets of food have been distributed to affected residents.