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PH skies clear of ‘smaze’–Pagasa

/ 01:42 AM October 29, 2015

The country’s skies are finally clear of the haze or smaze (combination of smoke and haze) that drifted from Indonesia’s massive forest fires, the weather bureau said.

The Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa) reported on Wednesday that available data showed that the air around areas in the Visayas and Mindanao that were affected by the smaze in the past weeks were mostly clear.

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“Based on the 8 a.m. weather reports of visibility at Pagasa stations, light haze to clear atmosphere were observed all over the country,” the weather bureau said.

In a briefing, Assistant Science  Secretary Raymund Liboro said it was “unlikely” that the haze would recur in the coming days since there is no expected change in the prevailing northeasterly to easterly wind direction that will again blow the smoke, choking Indonesia and neighboring countries, towards the Philippines.

Liboro said upon the initiative of the Department of Science and Technology, concerned agencies will convene on Thursday to finalize the protocol and response the next time the country is affected by smaze.

Pagasa Weather Division Chief Esperanza Cayanan said the smaze affected the country from Oct. 14 to 24 as a result of Typhoon “Lando” (international name: “Koppu”).

The typhoon, which ravaged Central and northern Luzon from Oct. 18 to 20,  shifted the wind into a southwesterly direction, thus drawing the smoke from Indonesia, which is located south of the Philippines.

Liboro explained that the smaze might return if there is another typhoon or major weather disturbance that will change the wind pattern.

Cayanan said satellite data showed that smoke particles began to drift over Mindanao on Oct. 17 and the thick haze became widespread by Oct. 20.

On Oct. 17,  the Zamboaga station reported heavy haze with low visibility, while Cotabato reported moderate haze and Cagayan de Oro and Mactan reported light haze. Metro Manila had moderate haze.

In the next days, the weather stations in Mindanao reported heavy haze.

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From Oct. 23 to Oct. 25, the heavy haze reached Mactan.

On Tuesday, Pagasa reported that the haze had began to ease although their Zamboanga station still reported moderate haze.

“Now we are clear of haze from Indonesia based on our observation and the wind pattern,” Cayanan said.

She said the easterly and northeasterly winds prevailing all over the country will hold in the coming days “so we are far from Indonesia’s forest fires.”

“If there are reports of haze, that is localized,” Cayanan said.

Metro Manila, however, remains shrouded in moderate haze.

Cayanan said the haze had nothing to do with the Indonesian forest fires, but was caused by air pollution from vehicular and industrial emissions.

She showed data from their weather stations in Zamboanga, Cagayan de Oro, Cotabato, Mactan and Metro Manila showing worsening haze conditions from Oct. 17 to Oct. 25.

“We saw that Metro Manila does not clear [of haze] totally. We have more pollutants from motor vehicles and manufacturing industries [in Metro Manila than Indonesia],” she said.

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TAGS: forest fires, Haze, Indonesia, Mindanao, Pagasa, smaze, smoke, typhoon lando, Visayas
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