Friday June 8, 2007
Unpredictable highland weather
By STEPHEN THEN
MIRI: The weather in the highlands of interior Sarawak has become unpredictable.
It is supposed to be the start of the dry season, but it is raining so heavily that at times flights to places like the BaKelalan highlands have to be aborted.
The highland natives daily travel plans are being turned upside down because of the peculiar weather patterns.
BaKelalan state assemblyman Nelson Balang Rining said he has received numerous complaints of flight rescheduling and cancellations from the people living in the mountainous settlements.
Some village heads told me the weather could be very bad at times. Many parts of the BaKelalan area are experiencing heavy rain now.
Flights have to be cancelled in such weather conditions. Aircraft simply cannot fly in bad weather. Visibility can also be very low due to the concentration of heavy clouds around the mountains, he said.
The dry season in Sarawak is usually from the months of June to September.
However, for the past two years, it has not been so, with heavy rainfall recorded at erratic intervals.
Balang was also forced to use alternative routes during his official visits to the northern interior.
For example, to go to Lawas town, I have to fly from Miri to Kota Kinabalu (in Sabah) before taking the land route to get to Lawas because the bad weather will affect smaller aircraft, he said.
He hopes the weather in BaKelalan will improve soon because once schools reopen, many people, especially students, will need to fly out to the urban areas.