The rainy season has well and truly arrived in Bali, but the impact of increased rainfall has had a more devastating effect in just a few days than in the last few years combined. Heavy rainfall across Bali has caused major flash flooding events, landslides, bridges to collapse, trees to fall, and communities to be devastated by rising waters. On the afternoon of Tuesday 18th October, a landslide hit central Ubud, causing serious issues for traffic and public safety.
The landslide occurred on Jalan Raya Ubud, the cultural capital’s high street, between Campuhan and Jalan Bisma Ubud. The Head of Emergency and Logistics of BPBD Gianyar Regency, I Gusti Ngurah Dibya Presasta, spoke to reporters during the clean-up operation. He said traffic was inevitable, and although the area has been cleaned up now, traffic was backed up for over an hour. As rain continues to fall and there are weather warnings for the next three days, there could be more flash flooding and landslides in the Ubud area.
Presata told reporters late yesterday afternoon, ‘The rain has just stopped, but the evacuation is still ongoing. We are trying to finish it as soon as possible and the congestion can be resolved’. Thankfully, there were no casualties, but there were a couple of cars stranded in the mud. Although the road is passable now, mud continues to drain into the road. Yesterday evening a Balinese Hindu Ngaben Ceremony (funeral procession) was able to conduct their journey through the street despite the mud and floods.
Into Wednesday, 19th October, flooding remained an issue in Ubud. Parts of the Nyuh Kuning Ubud Road remain flooded but are passable, though it will not take much more rainfall for roads to become too unsafe to use.
The Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics (BBMKG) Region III Denpasar have issued weather warnings for all of Bali for the next three days. The BBMKG has urged Bali residents and visits to be extra cautious in the coming days as extreme weather events have been forecast.
I Gede Agus Mahendra, from the BBMKG Offices in Denpasar, told reporters that the weather warnings cover ‘almost most areas of Bali, the intensity of rain is currently quite high, we also appeal to the public to remain vigilant and careful about the impacts of disasters that can be caused such as floods, landslides, strong winds, fallen trees, and heavy rain accompanied by lightning’.
Although yesterday’s landslide and flooding disasters were worst in Ubud, areas along Bali’s south-western coast and in central agricultural regions of Bali should prepare for potential flooding. Mahendra explained, ‘like in Jembrana Regency around the state area. For Badung, in the evening, to the north and Tabanan around Baruriti, Luwus and Jatiluwih. In addition, we urge the public, especially those who live in residential areas near rivers, to be aware of rising water levels’.
Mahendra has warned that the weather forecast predicts the heaviest rainfall will arrive on Friday, 21st of October. He advised coastal communities, marine tourism operators, fishing boats, surfers, and swimmers to avoid the water where possible. If marine transportation must go ahead, he advised that people proceed with the utmost caution.
He said that waves could reach over two meters consistently ‘Especially in the waters north and south of Bali if mapped it means around the Bali Sea, southern Bali Strait, Badung Strait, Lombok Strait and the Indian Ocean south of Bali’.
Mahendra shared that he and his teams predict that this rainy season could last until February or even March next year. He said, ‘especially for extreme weather, it is estimated that it will continue for the next few weeks because the atmospheric conditions in Indonesia and Bali, particularly, are currently quite unstable’.
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