Penang on high alert amid worries of flooding in northern states as rain continues to pour

GEORGE TOWN (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - Malaysia's northern Penang state has been placed under an "orange alert" for 48 hours following incessant rain since Monday (May 6).

Penang Welfare, Caring Society and Environment Committee chairman Phee Boon Poh said on Tuesday that rain was expected through the day and tides in the sea around the island rose to their highest at 2.6m at 1.23pm on Monday.

"Rainfall is expected to exceed 30mm per hour and there is medium risk of flooding," he said.

Orange is the second-highest warning level.

On Monday, a tornado-like storm following several hours of downpour lashed through various parts of the island, toppling container homes, blowing off roofs and uprooting trees.

Nine foreign workers were hurt when eight container units they were staying in overturned at a construction site in Jalan Baru here.

At least 12 partial wood shophouse units, two houses and a temple in Jalan Baru were also damaged.

A big tree uprooted by the wind crashed onto a shophouse in the area.

In George Town, a tree, believed to be over 50 years old, damaged the fence of the Penang state assembly building in Light Street when it fell.

No casualties were reported but traffic was brought to a standstill.

A check with the Fire and Rescue Department found no flood reports received so far on Tuesday.

However, the Malaysia Meteorological Department has issued a warning for Perlis, Kedah and Penang to be on alert on Tuesday and Wednesday at risk-prone areas for flood, landslide, soil erosion and others.

The warning also urged all evacuation centres to be equipped with the necessities and all operation assets to be in good working order.