A week of extreme weather has hit Bali and resulted in trees falling damage to cars, and damage to beach vendors for hire equipment. As the change of seasons rolls across Bali, so too does fluctuations in temperature causing heavy rainfall, rapidly changing tides, and trees falling in residential areas.
Legian Village, in Kuta, received a heavy downpour on Thursday 26th May accompanied by strong winds. Fallen trees in the Legian area resulted in traffic jams as the community worked to clear debris from the road. A local man’s car has been heavily damaged by a falling mahogany tree that landed right on top of his car. Thankfully there were no casualties but the driver has incurred tens of millions of Indonesian rupiah’s worth of damage to his vehicle.
The driver, Eka Martini, was at his place of work and had parked his car on the side of Jalan Dewi Sri. He came out of work to find his car crushed beneath the tree. The local community called the Badung Board for Disaster Management who were able to come to the scene. They worked with the community to redirect traffic, clear the fallen tree and remove Martini’s car from the road.
Nyoman Gede Wiryajaya, the data coordinator for the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics in Denpasar has issued a weather warning for the coming days. As Bali transitions into the dry season, the final rains will be heavy.
He said that the ENSO index of the NINO 3.4 is -0.66. In real terms, this increases the potential for heavy rains across Indonesia but especially on small islands like Bali, Lombok, and the Gili Islands.
The warming sea temperatures are also not helping the heavy rainfall. Though there are annual increases in sea temperature surrounding Bali, climate change is having an undeniable impact. The sea surface temperature around Bali is usually between 29-31 degrees celsius and is currently sitting at its upper limit.
Earlier this week the Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics released warnings on weather apps and local news about tidal conditions. Unfortunately, this warning fell on deaf ears as both vendors and tourists on Melasti Beach in South Kuta have to scramble to save their sun loungers and belongings from the rapidly approaching tide.
In a viral video released on the afternoon of Tuesday 24th May, vendors and tourists can be seen frantically grabbing at sun loungers, umbrellas, towels, and beach bags that are being washed away by the aggressive high tide waves.
The Center for Meteorology, Climatology, and Geophysics have warned that the weather will remain rough for the next few days, and the tides will be particularly strong in the run-up to Sunday’s new moon. Locals and tourists are advised to be extra cautious if they are out on the water, whether that be for water sports or on boats.
The currents can change in a heartbeat and even the strongest of swimmers are at risk of being pulled out to sea.
The weather is set to settle by the middle of next week and tourists heading to Bali can bask in the glorious sunshine they have traveled to experience. As international tourists pour back to Bali beach vendors like those whose sun loungers were whisked away by the tide will be breathing a sigh of relief.
Though Bali’s tourism sector provides formal employment for tens of thousands of people across the island, it has been the informal sector that has been hit hardest by the successive lockdowns. Since the government announced the scrapping of the pre-arrival PCR test bookings is set to soar. It seems that a bit of rain, nor blustery winds will put travelers off from visiting the Islands of the Gods.
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