Malaysia to use words instead of colours for weather alerts: Minister

Malaysia to use words instead of colours for weather alerts: Minister

Malaysia Met
A meteorologist at Malaysia's Met department analyses satellite and radar data at its 24-hour operations centre in Putrajaya. (Photo: Melissa Goh)

KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia's Met Department will alter the weather warning alert system from colour codes to words to enable the public to better understand the warnings, Science, Technology and Innovation Minister Wilfred Madius Tangau told parliament on Thursday (Nov 16).

Mr Wilfred admitted that the current colour-coded warning system, in three classifications of yellow, orange and red alerts, was difficult to understand.

Yellow is for weather conditions that do not pose an immediate threat to the population.

An orange alert means that those in the affected areas should prepare for anticipated bad weather conditions.

Red means there will be severe weather and people will be asked to move out of the danger zone.

“The Met Department will change the current system to a written one, by denoting yellow as beware (waspada), orange as bad (buruk) and red as dangerous (bahaya),” he said in reply to a supplementary question by Noraini Ahmad (BN-Parit Sulong).

The move came after the Met Department was blamed for not issuing early warnings to citizens in Penang and Kedah on the severe stormy weather that hit the northern states earlier this month on Nov 4 to 5.

The unprecedented downpour in Penang that lasted for 15 hours, coupled with typhoon-like strong winds, claimed seven lives and forced thousands out of their homes as 80 per cent of the state was inundated by floodwaters.

While the island has largely bounced back, the severe floods have forced the state government to rethink its evacuation strategy and improve its flood mitigation efforts.

The state’s chief minister Lim Guan Eng has also proposed its own weather alert system to better warn the public about impending storms.

Source: CNA/ec