Indonesia: BMKG warns about storm, landslide risk

Slamet Susanto and Syofiardi Bachyul Jb, The Jakarta Post 11 Nov 15;

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned people to remain cautious about storms and possible landslides as the country enters the rainy season.

The BMKG Yogyakarta office predicted that parts of Yogyakarta would be prone to thunder and strong winds as the province entered a transitional season this month.

Quoting satellite data, the agency’s climatology station operations coordinator Joko Budiono said on Tuesday that during the transitional period, marked with uneven rains, there would be many convective clouds or rain clouds known as cumulonimbus.

“This has the potential of causing thunder and bringing in strong winds,” Budiono said.

Separately, state-owned electricity company PT PLN’s Central Java-Yogyakarta distribution manager Andreas Heru Sumaryanto said that strong winds during the transition were feared to cause disruptions to the electricity supply.

“This can happen because there are many branches and trees growing near the lines that pose a danger to the network. But we already have a map of it,” Andreas said.

The challenge was, he added, that many of the trees belonged to residents who did not want to prune branches. In other cases, people deliberately planted trees under electricity lines to get compensation.

Meanwhile, in West Sumatra, heavy rain over Agam regency on Monday afternoon caused a landslide in Palupuh, covering a 30-meter section of the Trans-Sumatra highway with muddy debris, some 19 kilometers from Bukittinggi city heading to Medan in North Sumatra.

The landslide caused a line of vehicles over a kilometer long to wait for about four hours.

It also hit a local resident’s house. However, no fatalities were reported in the landslide, estimated to have caused losses of Rp 80 million.

Agam Disaster Mitigation Agency (BPBD) head Bambang Warsito said on Tuesday that a landslide had hit Baso district, also in Agam, damaging a house, destroying the fence of state elementary school SDN 21 Simarasok and inundating an irrigation facility with debris.

Separately, Solok BPBD estimated that financial losses caused by a flash flood on Saturday night reached Rp 5.8 billion, mostly due to damage to roads, irrigation facilities, agricultural fields, fish ponds and three homes. No fatalities were reported in the flood.

The West Sumatra BPBD earlier warned people in the province to be cautious about the threat of flood and landslide in a number of regions as the rainy season approaches.

The agency’s logistics and emergency division head R. Pagar Negara said on Monday that rain had been falling over most parts of West Sumatra and had the potential to cause landslides and flash floods.

The Volcanology and Geological Hazard Mitigation Center (PVMBG) noted that 94 districts in the province’s 13 regencies had the potential to experience middle- to high-category land movement. Of the districts, 16 were named vulnerable to flash flooding.

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