Despite 78 Haze Hot Spots, NEA Says Wind And Showers Will Lower Chances Of Haze

On Wednesday (21 Feb) afternoon, Singaporeans grimaced and braced themselves for impending haze from Indonesia once again.

We feared the worst when Indonesia’s disaster agency declared disaster alert status as the number of hotspots in several provinces surged to 78.

However, the National Environment Agency (NEA) has quickly moved to dispel that sinking feeling.

Wasting no time, the NEA took to Facebook to put Singaporeans’ collective minds to rest.

According to the statutory board, a combination of favourable winds and shower activity will help to reduce the odds of the choking air reaching out shores.

The roof, the roof, the roof is on fire

The usual suspects are getting hot and bothered again.

Sumatra, the Riau Islands and Kalimantan were the source of the hotspots this time round. The latter territory provided approximately 35 hotspots on its own.

All three provinces – which are situated right smack on the equator – are currently entering the start of a dry season that usually lasts to March.

Following a rainy season that extends to May, the second dry spell from June to September is typically hotter than the first.

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This second period is when forest and plantation fires routinely engulf the aforementioned regions, which was the case in Singapore’s worst haze outbreaks of past years.

The disaster alert will allow for the national government to intervene with logistics and funds.

Perhaps the region that affects Singapore most is the Riau Islands, which are only a couple of hours from Singapore via ferry.

We’re safe …this time

It seems like favourable weather conditions will see our N95 masks put back in storage for the time being.

Let’s take a look at the “prevailing winds” that are expected to keep the haze away from our shores.

Directly south of Singapore are the Riau Islands. Sumatra is to the east and across the sea to the east lies Kalimantan.

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Currently, the prevailing winds are blowing from a Northwesterly position. True to the NEA’s prediction, the winds are not expected to abate or change direction anytime soon in the next two weeks.

Let’s look at precipitation forecasts for the weeks to come.

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A week from now, there’ll be shower activity all over Sumatra and Kalimantan, which bodes well for our plans to go about our business without coughing or sneezing.

Clear skies

Our rudimentary bit of amateur weather forecasting has led us to the same conclusion as NEA – that “the likelihood of transboundary haze affecting Singapore is currently assessed to be low”.

So that means business as usual for us, we guess.

Earlier in the year, Indonesian President Joko Widodo “guaranteed” leaders of Singapore and Malaysia that 2018 will be haze-free.

Clear skies are metal.
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But hey, if the haze does come back, we can always turn to this Malaysian bomoh:

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Featured image from Facebook.