GEORGE TOWN - Heavy rain yesterday morning reduced traffic to a crawl in major roads here and caused yet another flash flood at the Penang International Airport.
The airport was flooded again despite the recently-completed installation of a new drainage system, which was part of the airport's RM250 million (S$96.4 million) upgrading.
Although airport operations were not affected, the flash flood, which lasted 30 minutes, caused inconvenience to passengers, airport workers and those waiting to pick up friends and family members.
Yesterday's flash flood was the fourth since upgrading started in 2009.
The floodwaters, however, did not affect the departure hall, since it is located on the upper level of the two-storey terminal.
The excess rainwater from the downpour yesterday swept into the driveway next to the arrival hall.
It spilled over into parts of the hall, causing passengers to wade through knee-deep water to exit the building.
The flash flood also hit the open-air car park, located 10m away from the arrival hall.
Passengers who had parked their vehicles overnight could only wait for the water to recede before getting to their vehicles.
There were a few passengers who braved the floodwaters by wading through the rainwater with their pants rolled up.
Even those wanting to hail airport limousines could not do so, as the vehicles could not enter the flooded driveway.
Limousines parked outside the arrival hall, too, could not budge due to the ankle-deep waters.
A check at the arrival hall later showed many cleaners mopping the wet floor inside and outside the building. Flash floods are nothing new to the airport. They have wreaked havoc at the airport, the third busiest in the country, in September and November last year.
The first time a flash flood hit the airport, formerly known as Bayan Lepas Airport and opened in the 1930s, was in February 2012.
The flooding on Sept 3 last year, however, was the worst to hit the airport. The main terminal lounge for budget airlines was flooded after excess rainwater collected on the tarmac and spilled into the building.
Passengers had to wade through 8cm of water to board their flights, many of which were delayed due to the flood.
After the September flooding, airport authorities upgraded the drainage systems at the affected areas and assured the public that there would be no repeat of the flooding.
Yesterday's flash flood also affected low-lying areas in the inner city and suburbs, although no untoward incidents were reported.
Due to the flash flood, traffic was reduced to a crawl in many areas on the island.
Among the worst-hit areas were the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone, Bayan Baru, Jalan Masjid Negeri and Jalan Sultan Azlah Shah.
Also, bumper-to-bumper traffic was reported in the Penang Bridge and Lebuhraya Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu.