Cloudbursts causing flash floods in Klang Valley, says minister

Flood wreaked havoc in Kuala Lumpur on Oct 14. (Facebook pic)

KUALA LUMPUR: The Klang Valley is facing the cloudburst weather phenomenon which could see a large amount of rain in a short span of time, said a minister.

Water, Land and Natural Resources Minister Xavier Jayakumar said the phenomenon is due to climate change and usually happens once in 25 years.

“For instance, several days ago, Segambut recorded 105 mm of rain,” he said when replying in the Dewan Rakyat to Lim Lip Eng (PH-Segambut), who asked the reasons for frequent flash floods in the Klang Valley.

Xavier said the Drainage and Irrigation Department and the Federal Territories Ministry were studying ways to reduce flash floods.

“We need to focus on infrastructure,” he said, adding that the government would need at least RM54 million to maintain flood mitigation projects.

Cloudbursts occur when warm air from the ground rushes up and carries the falling raindrops up with it. The rain fails to fall in a steady shower.

This results in excessive condensation in the clouds as new drops form and old drops are pushed back into it by the updraft.

On Oct 14, heavy rain in the afternoon led to flash floods, landslides and fallen trees across Kuala Lumpur, with Segambut among the places most affected.

The other affected areas were near Central Market and Kampung Sungai Penchala.

Reports also said the downpour caused a landslide along Jalan Syed Putra that led to a 10m retaining wall collapsing.

On Oct 13, it was reported that eight families were forced to evacuate their homes after a retaining wall collapsed at a construction site of a residential project at Kampung Tengah, Ampang.

Five houses in the vicinity were damaged and a 14-year-old boy suffered a broken leg after he was hit by a car that crashed due to debris from the fallen wall.