Extreme weather to haunt Bali until February

by Agnes Winarti on 2013-01-22

New-style boomerang?: Men from the Badung regency administration work hard in an attempt to remove the mountains of rubbish, both natural and manmade, from Kuta Beach. This is an annual sight, as the change in current brings the detritus ashore at this time of year. BD/agung ParameswaraNew-style boomerang?: Men from the Badung regency administration work hard in an attempt to remove the mountains of rubbish, both natural and manmade, from Kuta Beach. This is an annual sight, as the change in current brings the detritus ashore at this time of year. BD/agung Parameswara

While the nation’s capital city, Jakarta, is still recovering from last week’s massive flooding, Bali’s capital city, Denpasar, has been told to remain alert for ongoing inclement weather, which is predicted to last until mid-February.

“The peak of the rainy season in Bali will continue from January to mid-February. Thus, we have to remain alert for possible medium to heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves until February,” head of Denpasar’s Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) I Wayan Suardana told Bali Daily on Monday.

His office’s climatic monitoring coverage includes East Java, Bali, West Nusa Tenggara (NTB), East Nusa Tenggara (NTT), East Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan and South Kalimantan.

Not only areas in Bedugul, Gianyar and Karangasem but also Denpasar and Badung regencies would still face heavy downpours, strong winds and high waves, Suardana said.

He acknowledged that the volume of rain, the wind speed and the height of waves during the first month of 2013 had been recorded as being much higher than in the same period of the previous year.

Within the last two weeks, Bali has been hit by tropical cyclone Narelle that strongly affected the island’s weather and its water, causing huge waves and strong winds.

Extreme weather conditions battering Bali’s shores over the past several weeks have also forced local fishermen to stay ashore, thus affecting the supply of fresh fish.

Made Gunaja, head of the provincial Maritime Affairs and Fisheries Agency, said on Tuesday that his office received reports that many fishermen were being kept on land by the huge waves and heavy rains, including in the island’s center of fish production in Kedonganan, south Badung.

Suardana said that ensuring Bali, especially the island’s two most developed regions of Badung and Denpasar, was flood-free would be a joint task for the administrations’ agencies that oversee infrastructure and facilities, as well as the safety of the residents.

“While agencies maintain rivers and drainage systems to be free from trash blockages and cut down trees that may be uprooted by the strong winds, the residents must also do their part, most importantly by restraining themselves from littering everywhere,” stated Suardana.

Over the years, strong winds, heavy downpours and landslides during the island’s rainy season have resulted in a number of accidents with human fatalities in Bali.

Recalling the 2002 and 2007 rainy season incidents when Denpasar’s Tukad Badung River overflowed into the nearby business district street of Jl. Hasanuddin in Suci, head of the Bali Public Works Agency, I Ketut Artika, declared that the agency had been performing regular maintenance to prevent flooding in the densely populated southern part of Bali.

“We are taking preventive measures, such as routine drain maintenance and tree-cutting; intensifying our coordination with the Regional Disaster Management Agency; and preparing sandbags and equipment to deal with future landslides,” he said.

 He also claimed that since establishing several new channels along the Tukad Badung River, the river had not burst its banks again.

However, over the past few years, floods in scattered locations around Denpasar have taken place, as reported by various local media, including a 1-meter high flood experienced by hundreds of homes in the Monang-Maning housing complex in January last year and another one occurring over a wider area of the West Denpasar district just recently in December.

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