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Friday, April 18, 2014

Indon haze spreads to NMI

A haze that is probably from Indonesia has reached the Mariana Islands and will likely persist for several days, according to the Emergency Management Office yesterday.

EMO said that, based on the information they gathered from the National Weather Service in Guam, monsoon winds have brought a plume of haze to the Mariana Islands.

EMO said the haze is not associated with Anatahan or Pagan volcanoes and its most probable source is the widespread land-clearing fires in Indonesia.

“The wind flow pattern that has been in place the last several days is favorable for bringing smoke from those fires across the southern Philippines and into the Marianas,” the agency said.

EMO said they would continue to monitor the haze.

Acting Gov. Timothy P. Villagomez is advising CMMI residents that, while the haze may reduce visibility at times, it is not likely to produce any health problems.

“Motorists are advised to take precautionary measures while driving on the road due to poor visibility associated with the haze,” Villagomez said.

Indonesia has experienced haze in recent days, mostly caused by farmers and plantation owners setting fires to clear land. As fires spread, haze spread to the neighboring Singapore and Malaysia.

Meanwhile the surge in the southwest monsoon that has been plaguing the Marianas will continue for the next few days. This will spell gusty winds, periods of showers and thunderstorms and a high west swell through at least Friday.

A high surf advisory and small craft advisory remain in effect as surf will be hazardous at southwest and west-facing reefs. EMO said the surf will remain high for a few days.

“Hazardous surf will continue to build even higher during the next several days in response to a strong monsoon surge directed across the Philippine sea toward the Marianas,” EMO said.

Due to the rising seas and surf in the region, EMO strongly advises the public—especially beachgoers, fishermen, tourists, swimmers, divers and surfers—to avoid venturing near exposed reefs and beaches, especially on southwest and western exposures, as rip currents will be life-threatening.

Today’s forecast include west winds of 23mph with gusts of up to 34mph. Wind waves will be 6 to 8 feet, with west swells of up to 11 feet. EMO predicts scattered showers and isolated thunderstorms.

By tonight, west winds will be at 23mph with gusts of up to 34mph. Wind waves will be 6 to 8 feet, and west swells will be 12 feet. EMO predicts numerous showers and isolated thunderstorms.

In related news, Tropical Storm Bebinca (19W) slowly moved away from the Marianas yesterday.

The National Weather Service Office in Guam reported that, as of yesterday morning, the center of the storm was located near latitude 18.2 degrees north and longitude 130.1 degrees east. This is about 1,055 miles west-northwest of Saipan, 1,025 miles west-northwest of Guam, 805 miles northwest of Yap, and 805 miles north-northwest of Koror.

The agency said the storm is moving north at 12 miles per hour with maximum sustained winds of 40 miles per hour.

“During the next 24 hours, Tropical Storm Bebinca is expected to turn northeast with a slight increase in its forward speed,” NWSF said.

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