KUCHING: Lesser but still visible haze remained in Sarawak yesterday as smoke from Kalimantan continued to spread to the surrounding region.
As at 2pm, all 10 Air Pollutant Index (API) monitoring stations in Sarawak reported under the 100 moderate readings. Two stations, Kapit and Limbang, had good range readings of 45 and 37.
In Kuching the 24-hour averaged API was 66 but with low visibility of just 1.2km.
No flight disruptions were reported at Kuching International Airport. The API in the state capital dropped below the 100 reading since 2pmon Tuesday.
Meanwhile, the API in Sibu was 54 and in Miri, 70.
A total of 104 hotpots were detected in Kalimantan on Tuesday, according to TERRA satellite images from the Singapore-based Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre. The centre said the low hotspot count was due to cloud cover over parts of the island.
“Widespread moderate to dense smoke haze was observed in Kalimantan and spread over to the South China Sea. Moderate to dense smoke haze continued to persist in central and southern Sumatra. Some of the haze has spread into the southern part of the Strait of Malacca and parts of peninsula Malaysia,” said its latest update.
The Malaysian Meteorological Department (Met) is forecasting isolated thunderstorms across Sarawak daily for the next week.
According to Met spokesman Dr Hisham Mohd Anip, the phasing out of Typhoon Dujuan in Taiwan on Tuesday pulled winds from clearer parts of Indonesia.
“More rain is expected in the next two or three days, which will cause haze levels to gradually decline,” Hisham said on Tuesday.
However, another low-pressure area is slowly building up in the northern part of the South China Sea close to the west of the Philippines. “This means on Saturday or Sunday, the winds will shift again, bringing back the air from the dense haze areas in Indonesia to Malaysia,” he said.
In the Met’s El-Nino Outlook for October to March, it is forecast the unusually hot and dry weather would peak between late this year and early next year.
“There is a 95% chance the current El Nino condition will peak by late-November to January, and gradually weaken through March to May,” said the outlook.