Wet season likely to bring relief from haze

A young girl in traditional costume enjoys a pony ride at the Kota Belud Tamu Besar in Sabah. The air quality in Sabah has improved with the API at moderate levels yesterday. — Bernama pic
A young girl in traditional costume enjoys a pony ride at the Kota Belud Tamu Besar in Sabah. The air quality in Sabah has improved with the API at moderate levels yesterday. — Bernama pic

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PETALING JAYA, Oct 26 — The haze plaguing the country is expected to dissipate in the coming weeks if prevailing weather conditions stabilise, said the Malaysian Meteorological Department.

Senior meteorologist Dr Mohd Hisham Anip said the north-east monsoon season or the wet Landas season begun on Saturday.

“This would cause winds to blow from the east and we do not expect the haze to return to the country until March, unless a typhoon forms over the Philippines,” he said.

The haze is expected to be carried further east, away from Malaysia.”

Hisham said typhoons from the Philippines were usually caused by pockets of low pressure areas, but weather conditions indicated that such atmospheric conditions had not been observed.

“Our data shows that the conditions are not favourable for a typhoon for at least the next 10 days,” he said.

The level of humidity is expected to rise significantly, increasing the potential for rainfall which will help alleviate the haze problem.

“There would be heavy rain and thunderstorms nationwide mostly during late evenings.”

Hisham also said the monsoon season was expected to bring floods but it was predicted that the intensity of the floods would be limited.

The haze choking Malaysia, Singapore and Indonesia since last month has now spread to parts of Thailand and the Philippines.

Indonesia has attributed at least 10 deaths and half a million cases of respiratory illnesses directly to the haze. They have also prepared to evacuate thousands affected by the haze.

The rate of upper respiratory illnesses in Malaysia has gone up by 20 per cent but no deaths have been directly linked to it.

At 8am yesterday, 13 areas recorded unhealthy Air Pollutant Index (API) readings, with Port Klang, Selangor topping the list at 136.

By 6pm, unhealthy API readings were recorded at Pasir Gudang (106), Banting (101), Port Klang (117), and Shah Alam (108).

Kuala Lumpur (94) and Petaling Jaya (98) recorded moderate API readings.

An API reading of zero to 50 is good, 51 to 100 moderate, 101 to 200 unhealthy, 201 to 300 very unhealthy and 301 and above is hazardous.

According to the Asean Specialised Meteorological website yesterday, 65 hotspots were detected in Kalimantan, 136 in Sumatera and eight in Java.

Three hotspots were detected locally, all in Pahang.

The highest overall API reading so far was recorded on Oct 4 at Shah Alam, with an API recording of 308 at 9am.

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