Ranau: Unusual cold weather conditions are sweeping areas here, especially Mount Kinabalu, freezing water in some places.
According to personnel on the mountain Wednesday morning, water in holes in the Low’s Peak area became frozen and formed ice of one-centimetre thick.
Members of the Auxiliary Force Mountain Search and Rescue (Mosar) said the temperature at Laban Rata at dawn was about 5 degrees Celsius.
It is believed that water in rock holes on the mountain became frozen between 2am and 4am during which the temperature was likely to fall to 0 degree Celsius.
Kinabalu Park Manager Yassin Miki said this is a rare occurrence but not the first.
“Actually, for those who have long served on Mount Kinabalu, they consider it as an ordinary occurrence.
Sometimes the temperature on the summit can reach below 0 degree Celsius,” he explained.
However, he said the frozen water scene in the open is an interesting phenomenon, especially when it occurs here in the Southeast Asian region which only has the hot and humid weather throughout the year.
What matters, said Yassin, is the experience and safety of Mount Kinabalu climbers as well as all personnel on the mountain, while reminding all those concerned to bring along suitable clothing to protect themselves from the unusual cold weather.
Ranau Fire and Rescue Department Chief Jimmy Lagung said despite the freezing weather conditions on Mount Kinabalu, Mosar members are always prepared for any eventuality.
“The cold temperatures can cause climbers to be exposed and vulnerable to hypothermia (extreme cold) if they don’t wear clothes that are adequate to regulate their body temperature.
“Our advice to all climbers is to always prioritise on safety, while enjoying the beauty of the mountain and also the unique natural event like what is happening at the moment.”
Meanwhile, the State Meteorological Department said Sabah is experiencing cold weather with some districts recording low temperatures of 15 to 21 degrees Celsius between 5am and 7am.
Its Director Azemi Daud said February is one of the coldest months in the country, including Sabah, due to the Northeast Monsoon which is expected to end in March.
He said Ranau recorded the lowest temperature of 15 degrees Celsius, followed by Keningau (16), Kudat (20) and Kota Kinabalu (21) on Wednesday.
He added that one of the reasons for this phenomenon is the high-pressure cold wind coming from Siberia that blows across the Southeast Asian region.
“Other than that, other factors include geographical factors as well as the common cooling effect during fair weather or the lack of cloud formation at night.
“The department will continue to monitor the situation,” he said. – Clarence George Dol
Source: Daily Express