'Claudia' causes heavy
downpour in Bali

Rita A. Widiadana, The Jakarta Post, Denpasar

Following the recent Cyclone Chris, a new tropical cyclone now called Claudia has started to appear in Northern Australia since Monday causing heavy rains as its negative impacts in East Java, Bali, West and East Nusa Tenggara.

Putu Pudja, head of Bali's Meteorology and Geophysics Agency, told the Jakarta Post yesterday that in the last seven days, the measure of the rainfall in Bali and its neighboring areas already reached 170.4 mm as compared to normal level at about 50 mm.

Putu also said that the speed of the wind already reached 51 kilometers per hours and the sea waves reached four meter high.

""We warn people living on the slopes of the mountains and coastal areas to be more alert,"" Putu said.

Cyclone Claudia has increased the number of water drops which created heavy clouds and rains particularly in the eastern part of Indonesia.

""This situation could probably last until the end of February,"" Putu added.

In the center of the cyclone in North Australia, the air pressure was still very low approximately around 1000mb. This could mean, Putu explained, the cyclone could intensify within the next two or three days.

""We hope that the new cyclone will not create more environmental problems but we must stay on alert to anticipate any possible impacts,"" Putu said.

Several areas in East Java, Bali, West and East Nusa Tenggara had been hard hit by tropical cyclone Chris early this months.

Landslides, floods and thunderstorms occurred in these respected areas were linked to the cyclone Chris.

Serious landslides occurred in Taro village in Gianyar, South Bali, as well as in Pancasari village in the bordering areas of Bedugul and Singaraja in North Bali. In Jembrana, West Bali, a number of houses were hit by high tide and strong sea waves.

Wayan Suardhana, head of Meteorology and Geophysics Agency in Selaparang airport, Mataram in Lombok Island, West Nusa Tenggara, confirmed yesterday that the Chris had caused several areas in Lombok including Selong Belanak, Kepal, Terake and other villages in Central Lombok and in Ampenan, Mataram were inundated by floods.

The water level in that affected village reached between 1 and 4 meter high damaging hundreds of houses, hectares of rice fields and drowning thousands of cattle and poultry. Land and sea transportations were also disturbed.

""The new cyclone Claudia will likely have similar impact to the areas in West and East Nusa Tenggara if it is strengthening,"" Wayan said. Currently, the weather in West Nusa Tenggara province is cloudy and rainy.

""We will continue monitor the cyclone very closely to prevent from more damages,"" he said.

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