An aerial view showing houses and plantations submerged in floodwaters in Pengkalan Chepa, near Kota Baru, today. The Meteorological Department says Malaysia’s worst flooding in decades are the result of a lunar phenomenon.

Super Moon factor in east coast flooding, says Met Department

The gravitational pull of the moon is believed to have played a factor in the massive flooding of Malaysia’s east coast states, The Star reported.

The daily quoted Malaysian Meteorological Department spokesman Dr Mohd Hisham Anip as saying the gravitational pull of the moon could lead to higher than normal high tides.

This was even more so when the moon is at its closest to the earth, a position also known as perigee.

The moon was at perigee on December 24 at 12.44am on Christmas Day here, where it was as close as 364,791km from Earth, appearing as a super moon, or a larger than usual moon, even to the most casual of observers.
Hisham said that it was understood that continuous strong winds brought lots of moisture and created dense clouds in our region.

“The wind came from the western Pacific and China, and we haven’t understood how this year differs from previous years,” Hisham told The Star.

He said more studies needed to be conducted on the effects of high tide when augmented by the new moon and perigee.

“The good news is that the peak of the high tide is over, which was on December 23 and 24.

“All we know is the high tide is coming and it is higher than usual,” he said, adding that extremely heavy or prolonged rain that coincides with higher than usual tides is usually a recipe for flooding as the river mouth is effectively “blocked” by a wall of water.

The department said further episodes of high tide were expected on Monday, and these would probably affect Pahang, Johor and Sarawak.

Hisham said in a “normal” month, the rainfall averages between 500mm and 600mm in a month in the east coast.

“But areas such as Kuala Krai in Kelantan, Kuantan in Pahang and Gong Badak in Terengganu received more than 1,000mm of rainfall this month.” – December 27, 2014.

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Published: 27 December 2014