The Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BMKG) have issued early weather warnings across Bali for the 23rd and 24th of December, with the situation to remain under constant review. The BMKG has warned the public to exercise caution as heavy rains are predicted in the coming days. The news comes as Bali prepares to welcome a steep increase in tourists for the Christmas and New Year holidays.
A statement published by the BMKG Bali reads, “The community is advised to remain vigilant and careful about the impact of disasters that can be caused, such as floods, puddles, landslides, strong winds, falling trees, and lightning.”
The warning comes just a matter of weeks since major flooding decimated communities in west Bali and caused dozens of landslides and flash floods in the island’s busy tourism areas. A significant landslide hit Ubud’s main high street in late October, blocking the road for well over an hour and rising flood waters, making it unsafe to drive in some areas.
Travelers have also been warned to evaluate plans to travel by fast boat to Bali’s outlying islands, including Nusa Penida and the Gili Islands. The statement continues, “In addition, users and operators of sea transportation services, services, marine tourism, and the public who are active around coastal areas are advised to be aware of the potential increase in wind speed and sea waves with a height of up to 2.0 meters or more in the Bali Sea, Bali Strait, Badung Strait, Lombok Strait, and the Indian Ocean south of Bali.”
The BMKG Bali has listed areas that have the potential for moderate to heavy rains accompanied by lightning and strong winds. These include Badung Regency, where the resort areas of Kuta, Legian, Seminyak, Canggu, Nusa Dua, and Uluwatu can be found. The weather warning stretched to include Giyanar Regency, covering Ubud, as well as Denpasar and the eastern beach resorts in Karangasem Regency.
Speaking to reporters, the Head of the Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics Agency, Dwikorita Karnawati, urged communities to complete weather resiliency assessments. This includes ensuring that local water drainage systems aren’t clogged with plastic waste or debris and that any areas at risk of landslides are suitably reinforced or closed off in anticipation of heavy rainfall.
Karnawati also called on communities to prune tree branches at risk of causing damage in the event of high winds and ensure that community-based disaster management teams were prepared for intense weather events. Speaking in a more general sense, Karnawati called on teams across Bali to engage in “more intensive coordination, synergy, and communication between related parties for preparedness in anticipation of hydrometeorological disasters.”
Karnawati’s calls for greater preparedness against natural disasters come as environmental leaders in Bali have shared new data that connects the rapid increase in development in Bali, namely the development of tourism infrastructure and the rise in natural disasters. The data shows that the conversion of Bali’s natural landscapes and agricultural land to tourism buildings has drastically decreased the water-carrying capacity of the land.
Earlier in the month, the BMKG Bali made statements about the unusually hot and dry monsoon season. The hot, dry weather had caught many locals by surprise. I Gusti Ayu Putu Putri Astiduari from the BMKG Bali explained that cyclone seeds caused the unusually hot and dry weather during the typical monsoon season are occurring in areas of low pressure in the Natuna Sea, the Malacca Straits, and the open ocean to the South West of Indonesia.
Now the weather patterns have changed, and the rains are coming. While December is typically the height of the rainy season in Bali, the period of drier weather could mean bad news for areas prone to flooding.
The BMKG has warned the public to keep an eye on changing weather conditions via its website and social media channels, which will be operating 24-hour updates.
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