"This not only covers Ranau but also weather forecast for the districts of Kota Marudu (north), Kota Belud (northeast), Tuaran (west), Tambunan (southwest), Keningau (south), Tongod (southeast) and Beluran (east).
"The meteorological facility will enable us to understand the weather pattern in Ranau, as well as identify changes caused by large-scale highland agricultural activities there," Ongkili said at the launch of the Ranau Meteorological Office, here.
He said the observation station at the Ranau Meteorological Office is also equipped with a strong motion equipment to detect earthquakes in Ranau and its surrounding areas. Sabah has another strong motion station in the Danum Valley.
"The strong motion station is critical as earthquakes and landslides usually occur along the active fault lines of Mensaban, Crocker, Tabin and Lobou-Lobou located in Ranau/Kundasang," he said.
He said the Ranau office would also enhance public awareness on the role of the weather in relation to their daily lives and make more accessible weather data to the public.
Ongkili said the office, which also has a staff quarters, was built at a cost of RM3.58 million. With the new office, Sabah now has six main meteorological stations, including in Kota Kinabalu, Sandakan, Tawau, Keningau and Kudat.
Under the 9th Malaysia Plan, 14 new meteorological offices/stations have been built and seven existing ones upgraded at a cost of RM35.1 million.
Meanwhile, Ongkili gave away hampers in the form of basic essential items and food to 30 recipients selected from a list given by the Social Welfare Department.
The recipients comprised single mothers, orphans and the needy residing around Ranau.