KUCHING: Southern Sarawak could receive slightly higher than average rainfall this month and later this year, the Malaysian Meteorological Department forecasts.
In a long-range weather outlook for July to December, it said Kuching, Samarahan, Sri Aman and Sibu could receive between 210mm and 280mm of rain this month, which is usually the driest of the year.
Rainfall should return to normal patterns until November, when a slight spike is expected again: Kuching and Samarahan could receive 420-490mm, while Sri Aman and Betong could get up to 500mm.
In December, the MET says Kuching and Samarahan could receive up to 500mm of rainfall.
The outlook, released earlier this month, concludes that the El Nino phenomenon has passed, and the probability of La Nina developing is 75% but that only parts of Sabah might be affected in September.
For the week ahead in Sarawak, isolated thunderstorms should occur on most afternoons and some nights.
Tuesday could be a scorcher with no rain forecast. A maximum of 34 °C is expected, making it possibly the hottest day of the week.
Meanwhile, according to the Asean Specialised Meteorological Centre (ASMC), which monitors haze, the entire region is now classified at Level 1 given the start of the dry season.
“Hotspot counts in Sumatra and Kalimantan have remained low in the last few weeks, but are expected to increase as the dry season progresses. On June 28 and 29, ASMC detected three and nine hotspots respectively in central Sumatra,” it said.
“The prevailing south-west monsoon is expected to strengthen and persist over the next few months. Extended periods of dry weather can be expected, which could lead to elevated hotspot activities in fire-prone areas.”
According to satellite imagery Sunday, 11 hotspots were picked up in Sarawak and Sabah, and 10 in Kalimantan.
ASMC’s Level 2 classification is for areas with more than 150 hotspots for two consecutive days.
Level 3, the most severe with more than 250 hotspots, was declared in September last year in Sumatra and Kalimantan.