Rainy season arrived in Bali with a bang. Monsoon rains came slightly earlier than usual, and devastating flooding ripped through communities from West Bali to Nusa Penida. Bali has seen temperatures soaring as a warm weather front washes over the island this week. Areas like Badung Regency and Denpasar City have seen temperatures reach 34 degrees in the daytime.
The rising temperatures have caught many people by surprise, including motorcycle taxi driver Chandra Novdani. Speaking to reporters, he complained that the heat was getting to him. He said, “It’s so hot that you see [heatwaves on] the road. He also has headaches because he’s too hot”.
Echoing Novadani’s feelings, Ayu Damaris in Jimbaran, South Kuta, said that it was not a great time to be stuck in a traffic jam. She said “The weather was hot, and there was a traffic jam, it made it even hotter. This is to the point of wearing dark glasses so that the eyes don’t sting”.
According to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BBMKG) Region III Denpasar, the unseasonably hot weather in Bali is due to a warm weather front in the Pacific Ocean and cyclone seeds in the east of the Philippines.
I Gusti Ayu Putu Putri Astiduari, from the BBMKG, told reporters that cyclone seeds are occurring in areas of low pressure in the Natuna Sea, the Malacca Straits, and the open ocean to the South West of Indonesia. These areas of low pressure naturally attract warm air masses around them. This explains why Bali, Nusa Tenggara and parts of North-Western Australia are also experiencing rising temperatures
Astiduari explained, “Air masses from Australia and the Nusa Tenggara region will be attracted to Indonesia’s western and northern regions. The air that contains water vapor will be attracted to the area, making the area of Bali tend to be drier. That is why for now, the area of Bali tends to be brighter and hotter.”
She said that heat has been rising and humidity steadily dropping, making areas feel much drier than they should, given the rainy season. In urban areas in Bali, during the rainy season, humidity generally sits between 70-95%. She explained, “In these hotter than usual conditions, several BMKG stations in the Bali region show humidity between 60 percent and 90 percent”.
When asked how long the heat wave could last, Astiduari said that more monitoring is needed. She explained that it’s too early to give a reliable forecast for the Christmas and New Year holidays. She said, “We can’t calculate how many days it will last, but we will update the weather conditions like this. However, usually for cyclone or cyclone seeds, the life span is one week. So we need to look back at what the next week will be like”.
She urged the public not to panic at the news that the heatwave could last longer. She said, “Of course, we urge the public to continue monitoring the results of our predictions, which can be from social media, the radio from the BMKG, and we are also currently working with television stations. So people can update weather information on these channels”.
As Bali prepares to welcome over one million visitors over the Christmas and New Year Holidays, news of a heatwave may be good news for travelers from the northern hemisphere seeking winter sun. With the landscape becoming hotter and drier and evidence already confirming that development in Bali has led to an increase in natural disasters, news of a heatwave is a concern for many communities.
The drier a landscape the greater the risk of flooding when the rains do come. According to the Met Office, light rains are predicted on Wednesday afternoon, with heavy rains and even lightning storms on Thursday 15th December.
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