Downpour wreaks havoc on Penang traffic

A drone shot showing the Seberang Jaya underpass at the Butterworth Kulim Expressway covered in floodwater this morning. (Facebook Penang Kini pic)

GEORGE TOWN: Many parts of Penang were hit by flash floods after a heavy downpour this morning, with Bukit Mertajam and mainland Seberang Perai the worst affected.

Although the floods have since receded, they created havoc during the morning commute as Penangites battled with massive traffic congestion on most roads.

Data from the Drainage and Irrigation Department showed rainfall of between 30mm and 80mm at six out of seven recorder stations in Seberang Perai.

Some rivers were on the verge of bursting their banks, and many monsoon drains were unable to cope with such a heavy rainfall over a short period of time.

Seberang Perai municipal councillor Bernard Cheen said the worst-hit areas were Jalan Tembikai and Taman Sri Rambai phase one in Bukit Mertajam, where waters rose as much as one foot.

He said official numbers showed that the floods were between 150mm and 450mm in the Bukit Mertajam area.

“The rain began at about 6.50am as many were leaving for work and lasted for an hour. It was very heavy and quickly flooded many roads in Seberang Perai,” he said when contacted.

On social media, a video showed the Seberang Jaya underpass below the Butterworth-Kulim Expressway roundabout not passable as it was covered in floodwater.

On the island, the city council reported floods at parts of the George Town World Heritage Site, with Jalan Sungai Ujong, Kimberley Street, Cintra Street and Chulia Street not passable to light vehicles.

Outside the city centre, roads in Tanjung Tokong and Lebuhraya Thean Teik in Air Itam and Jalan P Ramlee were reported to have suffered from flash floods as well, according to a social media post by the city council.

This caused a massive crawl along the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah and Jalan Fettes in Tanjung Tokong.

In Bayan Lepas, Lebuhraya Kampung Jawa, Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah, Mayang Pasir, Jalan Tun Dr Awang and the Free Industrial Zone areas were flooded as well.

When contacted, state flood mitigation committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said most of the floods had completely receded.

He said the worst hit areas in Bukit Mertajam were scheduled to undergo flood mitigation projects by the state government soon.