KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 31 — Dangerously high levels of rain were expected in almost all areas on the east coast of peninsular Malaysia, the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MetMalaysia) warned this morning.

The department issued a red alert for extreme rainfall Kelantan’s Jeli, Kuala Krai, Gua Musang; Terengganu’s Besut, Hulu Terengganu, Dungun, and Kemaman; and Pahang’s Jerantut, Maran, Kuantan, Pekan, and Rompin.

In a sign of worsening conditions, the same red alert has also been extended to Johor’s Mersing and Kota Tinggi districts.

Under the department’s rain warning system, red signifies dangerous levels of rain exceeding 240mm per day. Amber, the second highest level, indicates heavy rain that could worsen to dangerous levels.

Yellow indicates that heavy rain was expected between one and three days from the day the alert was issued or sustained rain that was not heavy in volume.

This morning, the Drainage and Irrigation Department (DID) also issued alerts for dangerously-high water levels in three parts of Kelantan: Kampung Jenob, Kampung Temangan, and Kampung Tualang.

In Terengganu, the DID said water levels were at the warning stage for Jambatan Keruak, Kuala Ping, Kampung Pasir Raja, and Kampung Langkap.

Parts of Kelantan and Terengganu already began flooding last night, displacing over 1,100 people from the first state and nearly 200 from the second.

In Pahang that had already been hit in the first wave that began two weeks ago, authorities said more than 3,000 people remain in temporary evacuation centres across the state.

While monsoonal floods are an annual occurrence in Malaysia, 2021 has been one of the rare times that most of the peninsula has been inundated at nearly the same time.

This has led to concern that rampant deforestation in Malaysia could be accelerating climate change in the country, making this year’s severe and widespread flooding a semi-regular phenomenon.