PETALING JAYA: Just when it was going to get worse, it got better. Malaysians in the central and southern peninsula can expect a short respite from the dry, hazy conditions.
According to the Malaysian Meteorological Department (MMD), it has also been raining over central Sumatra, where the haze hotspots are concentrated, thus reducing the number of fires in the area.
“Hazy conditions are slowly beginning to improve, thanks to the rain pouring over both peninsular Malaysia and central Sumatra since Monday.
“At the moment, southwesterly winds are weak with a speed of about 10kph, allowing for rain in some parts of the peninsula,” he said.
However, the rain was not expected to last beyond the end of next week, as the southwesterly winds may become stronger after that, blowing at speeds of about 30kph.
“It is possible that the rains will slow towards the end of next week, leaving the country with the dry season that is expected to last until September. The winds may become stronger after next week, especially if the tropical storm east of Philippines intensifies, as the storm will absorb the moisture around it.”
A check with the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC) revealed there were no hotspots in Malaysia, a marked improvement from the seven hotspots found on Monday.
However, Sumatra still had 98 hotspot counts, while Kalimantan had 59.
For the haze to clear within the end of next week, the official said it was dependent on whether there would be enough rain at the hotspots.
“If it rains at the hotspots, this will help reduce the number of open burning incidents that contribute to the haze. If not, the southwesterly winds will pick up the smoke from the hotspots and blow it towards the peninsula, causing the haze to thicken.”
Indonesia’s disaster agency had warned last month that Malaysia and Singapore could be badly hit by haze again after a large number of forest fires in the Riau province, which was at the centre of an air pollution crisis last year.
The rain was also welcomed by people over social media.
Joylynn @tjoylynn tweeted: “i can see clearly now that the haze is gone. was beginning to wonder if i need glasses haha Praise God Maker of all, even the rain and wind.”
Lynn Zulkarim @LynnZulkarim said: “Super heavy rain in JB Alhamdulillah. Hoping for one in KL too to clear the haze and heat!”