Jakarta

Beware of heavy rain, winds:
BMKG

Geophysics Agency (BMKG) warned Jakarta residents to prepare themselves, as torrential rains are expected to continue in Jakarta over the next three days. “Based on our forecast, heavy rainfall will still occur in Greater Jakarta over the next three days,” BMKG extreme weather division chief Kukuh Ribudiyanto said on Saturday.

Strong winds, however, were unlikely to occur again — at least not as strong as Thursday’s winds that uprooted trees and downed billboards in the capital — as the condition in the atmosphere was rather different than during the last torrential

“As we could see, prior to Thursday’s heavy rain, the weather had been sunny, no wind and the humidity had been high. This might not be the case for the next three days,” he said.

Kukuh explained that long, heavy downpours would mostly occur in the western and southern parts of Jakarta and several areas in Bogor, Depok and Tangerang.

The high evaporation process in Jakarta also contributed to the heavy rain in the city, he said.

Kukuh said many water resources, such as lakes and rivers in Jakarta, which had evaporated, would meet the condensed air moving from the north, prompting the creation of large rain clouds, generating heavy rainfall.

BMKG has forecast that the wet season in the capital will peak between mid-January and mid-February and that the season will end around March and April.

“Jakartans should also watch out for the transitional period [between the rainy and dry seasons], as torrential rain, coupled with strong winds, will likely to happen again,” he said.

On Thursday, torrential rain and strong winds blasted the capital, killing two people, uprooting 87 trees and collapsing three billboards. The storm also disrupted commuter rail lines and caused massive gridlock.

Following the storm, Jakarta Governor Fauzi Bowo ordered his subordinates to conduct more frequent and routine patrols to check on trees and billboards.

Residents who suffered damages caused by the falling trees could seek compensation from the Jakarta Parks and Cemetery Agency of a maximum of Rp 10 million (US$1,100) for claims submitted with photographs and a police letter of acknowledgment.

Reportedly there had been 15 residents who have submitted claims to the agency as of Friday afternoon, but due to lack of required paperwork, only six claims have so far been processed.

The severe Thursday storm also sparked problems with BlackBerry Messenger, saying that Jakarta would likely be hit by tropical storm. However, BMKG denied the rumor, claiming that wind speeds in Jakarta were still lower than the speeds necessary to create a storm.

“The wind speeds in Jakarta were below 60 kilometers per hour, while wind speeds must be over 60 kph to be categorized as a storm and over 120 kph to be a tropical storm,” BMKG head Sri Woro said.

In addition to the heavy rain, residents, especially those living in the capital’s northern parts, must also be prepared for fl ooding due to high tides that are predicted to arrive between Jan. 10 and Jan. 11, and also between Jan. 22 and Jan. 23.

Residents of some areas that are prone to fl ooding have made their preparations in anticipation of major flooding.

Offi cers at several subdistricts, including fl ood-prone Penjaringan in North Jakarta, have provided, among other facilities, eight rubber dinghies, two generators and stacks of life jackets. The Karang Taruna youth group in Manggarai, South Jakarta, has also made the same preparations.

Jakarta faced its worst ever fl ooding in 2007, inundating about 70 percent of the city and killing at least 57 people and forcing more than 450,000 people to fl ee from their deluged houses.

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