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Saturday August 13, 2005

Cloud seeding to force rains

PETALING JAYA: Malaysians may breathe easy again in the next week or so if cloud-seeding operations which began yesterday result in rain that will wash away the haze. 

Besides that, the Meteorological Services Department also predicted that the South-West Monsoon winds, which blew the acrid smoke from forest fires in Sumatra to Peninsular Malaysia, would be replaced by south-easterly winds. 

This could mean clearer skies and cleaner air by next week. 

The department's Forecast Service Director (central) Kang Thean Shong said the haze might lessen in the next week because of the changing winds. 

HIGH ALTITUDE MISSION: Air Force pesonnel checking tanks carrying the salt and water mixture which were used to seed the clouds Friday and hopefully cause rain in haze affected areas.
“However, because the South-West Monsoon typically lasts until the end of September, the winds may shift direction again so we may still experience haze after a week. 

“It all depends on whether there is rain, the direction of the winds and the situation in Indonesia,” he said. 

He was speaking to reporters at the Royal Malaysian Air Force base in Subang after the RMAF Hercules C130 aircraft took off at 2pm for a cloud seeding operation around haze-affected cities. 

The aircraft carried four tanks of a sodium chloride (salt) and water mixture which will be shot at clouds above the areas between Ipoh, Negri Sembilan and Malacca.  

Among the areas were Ulu Bernam, Kuala Selangor, Batang Berjuntai, Rawang and Batu Caves. 

The mixture containing 50kg of salt and about 1,200 litres of water was injected into the clouds by the aircraft at a height of between 2,000 and 2,700m. 

Kang said that if necessary, cloud seeding would take place every day until Sept 30. – Bernama