Nice to be back in the forest again

Today I had some explorations of streams to do, and I enjoyed that nice familiar feeling. The week is a mad rush so this was therapeutic – pushing through vegetation (I avoid parang use), wrestling around or through a tree fall to get to waterlines and drenched from the stream and perspiration in the humid forest. It started out as a detached observation, what with my less than fit condition nowadays but I just had to sink my feet into it.

Thankfully the hiking was relatively mild although I huffed and puffed. I was thankful for the briskwalks I had made last year. Extra clothes in the office came in useful again. I’ve run out of supplies after a few similar adventures of this sort, so I’d better replenish the cupboard.

Yesterday, Lekowala did bird watching with his students and was ecstatic when I called him in the morning. We obviously miss simple delights!


After trudging through some really dry forest patches the past few days, and not seeing the threat of rain materialise for several days, its is really nice to hear the rain come down strongly now.

20080226-Rain in Singapore
Uploaded with plasq‘s Skitch!
Image from NEA.

Now only if those south-westerly clouds will carry on moving slightly north and east. The 2am-5am NEA Nowcast seems to think so:

20080226-Singapore Nowcast Graphic
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m7.3 earthquake off western Sumatra, 4:36pm

Feeling giddy? USGS National Earthquake Information Center reports a 7.3 magnitude earthquake 160 km south-southwest of Padang, Sumatra, Indonesia in the Mentawai region at 08:36:35 UTC (1636hrs SST).

I don’t think I felt it although I’ve been a little light-headed; it was Alvin who SMS-ed me. I wonder if Adrian felt it – he has quite the record for alerting me to earthquakes. 24 people from Singapore have reported weak shaking.

See NEA’s webpage: Regional Earthquake Alert.

Haze coming back, early

Yesterday Joelle and I rode the park connectors back from Pasir Ris all the way to Marina. When we finally emerged to join the road, I was struck by the smoky air. “The haze is back?” I yelled to Jo.

This morning, The Sunday Times reports,

“PARTS of Riau province in Sumatra were blanketed with choking smoke from land-clearing fires yesterday, and officials here warned that the haze could be headed for Singapore.”

It seems like its reaching Singapore already. PSI readings are marginally the highest so far this year and higher than in previous years. MIght not be anything to get excited about but food for thought nonetheless.

I can’t see Bukit Timah hill!

Besides bookmarking the NEA page (, I decided to look out to Bukit Timah from my favoured point, to get an estimate of the localised condition there. It’s smoky enough to suggest I keep to park connectors while cycling since the trees will afford me some protection.

Update – “Haze cloud weekend skies,” by Sheralyn Tay. Today, 25 Feb 2008. PSI reading rising, hitting a high of 56 yesterday.

“DON’T rub your eyes, it’s not your vision blurring. It’s just the haze which returned this weekend.

Yesterday, Singapore experienced its haziest day this year, with the 24-hour Pollutant Standards Index (PSI) reading hitting a peak of 56 (picture) at 4pm. This is the highest reading since December last year. Yesterday was also the third consecutive day that the 24-PSI reading has crept past the good range into the moderate range of 50-100. On Saturday, the 24-hour PSI reading hit 52, up from 51 on Friday.

According to the National Environment Agency’s (NEA) hot spot map, there are “numerous” hotspots over Thailand and Laos. Hot spots indicate areas with fires or hot smoke and are detected by infrared images captured by weather satellites. While isolated hotspots have been detected over Myanmar, Cambodia, Vietnam, western Borneo and parts of Sumatra, it was Riau in Sumatra that had been enveloped in thick smoke over the weekend as land-clearing fires created a choking haze that reduced visibility in some parts to 20 metres. But the number of hot spots in Riau appears to be dropping, as yesterday’s hot spot count was four, compared to 100 on Thursday and 50 on Friday.

According to NEA, the moderate haze is due, in part, to drier conditions. So far prevailing winds have kept most of the smoke away from Singapore, although changes in wind direction could account for hazier days ahead.”

WildSingapore will have updates.