KOTA KINABALU - Floods are expected to hit Sabah as the Meteorological Department has predicted heavy rains and thunderstorms the first few days into the new year.
The department said isolated thunderstorms and rains were likely to hit Sandakan, Kudat, the west coast and the interior of the state until Saturday.
Sea condition is expected to be rough, with wave heights of 3.5m to 4.5m and wind speed of between 50km/h and 60km/h, especially in the waters off Kota Kinabalu-Mengalum, Kudat-Mengayau and Labuan.
As the people of Sabah prepare to usher in the New Year, the Fire and Rescue Department is geared up to respond to emergencies.
State Operations and Rescue Unit assistant director Mohd Zahar Abdullah said there were 850 fire and rescue personnel from 21 stations throughout the state.
He said all personnel were on standby and their annual leave had been frozen.
"We have made sure all equipment, including boats, are fit to be used in our rescue operations."
Zahar advised the public to take precaution by switching off their homes' main power panel to avoid any untoward incident in the event of floods.
He advised fishermen from going out to sea.
Meanwhile, Bernama reported that continuous rain had caused floods in Miri, Bintulu, Betong and Sri Aman in Sarawak, with some areas inundated between 0.5m and 1m in floodwaters.
A spokesman at the state Flood Disaster Operations room said two families in the interior of Miri were evacuated to a relief centre in Marudi.
In Bintulu, seven residential areas were inundated in 0.5m-deep waters.
In Sri Aman, the areas affected were the Lancaster King Longhouse, Bujau Longhouse, Rumah Ujang, Kampung Sekait and Kampung Melayu Baru.
In Betong, only Kampung Lalang was affected.