Indonesia: Weather agency warns of heavy rain over weekend

The Jakarta Post 18 Jun 16;

The Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG) has warned people to be wary about potential natural disasters as a result of the heavy downpours expected to recur over the weekend.

The BMKG has predicted there will be heavy rain from June 17 to 20 in several areas in Indonesia based on atmospheric indications, Yunus S. Swarinoto, meteorology deputy at the agency said in a press statement on Friday.

There is also potential for thunder storms and high winds during the rain, Yunus said.

"We strongly urge people to be aware of potential flooding, flash floods, landslides and fallen trees," he said in the statement.

Areas predicted to have a high intensity of rain include Aceh, North Sumatra, West Sumatra, Riau, Bengkulu, Bangka Belitung, South Sumatra, Lampung, Jakarta, Banten, West Java, Central Java, Yogyakarta, East Java, West Kalimantan, Central Kalimantan, East Kalimantan, North Kalimantan, Maluku and Papua.

The BMKG has also warned sea transportation operators to watch out for heavy rain and heavy swells in the southern part of Sumatra, Java, Bali and East Nusa Tenggara.

People can contact the BMKG on its 24-hour call center 021-6546315/18 to get the latest information on weather forecasts or log on to its official website (rin)

Padang airport inoperable due to extreme weather
Syofiardi Bachyul Jb The Jakarta Post 18 Jun 16;

Extreme rainfall over Padang, West Sumatra, from Thursday night until early Friday morning forced Minangkabau International Airport (BIM) to cease its operations for over seven hours.

The heavy downpour triggered flooding that inundated thousands of houses across the city, forcing people to evacuate. At over half a meter deep, floodwaters also submerged most of the city’s roads, paralyzing traffic.

One person is reported to have died due to the disaster.

BIM spokesperson Yoserizal said the airport was unable to operate from 6 p.m. to 1:30 a.m. local time, forcing three flights to be diverted to Medan, North Sumatra, and three to Pekanbaru, Riau. A further four flights failed to take off.

“The weather caused unfavorable landing conditions,” Yoserizal told The Jakarta Post, adding that diverted flights included those of Garuda Indonesia, Batik Air, Citilink and Lion Air.

Irene, a West Sumatra Health Agency employee, a passenger of the Garuda Indonesia flight that departed from Jakarta at 4 p.m., said that when the plane was about to land in Padang at 5:55 p.m., it had circled over the airport before finally diverting to the Sultan Syarif Kasim II Airport in Pekanbaru.

Irene said they waited for about half an hour in Pekanbaru before the plane returned to Padang but, as the plane still could not land at BIM, it returned to Pekanbaru and stayed there for another half an hour.

“The flight back to Padang was finally able to land in Padang at 1:30 a.m.,” she said.

Weather agency head Budi Iman Samiaji said the planes could not land at BIM because the rainfall was extreme, leaving a visibility of only 250 meters for five hours.

“It was impossible for a plane to land. A plane can only land if there is visibility of over 900 meters,” said Budi, the head of information and observation at the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency’s (BMKG) Padang branch in Ketaping

Rainfall at the airport reached 368 mm. At Teluk Bayur Port it was 305 mm for 12 hours and 167 mm for three hours. This was categorized as very extreme, 100 mm is considered to be extreme.

“Extreme weather occurred in almost all regions along the west coast of West Sumatra and the Mentawai Islands,” said Budi, predicting that rain would continue to fall in Padang and surrounding areas but suggested that the intensity would decrease.

Disaster mitigation official Rivalno Pagar Negara said 20 rubber boats had been deployed to evacuate people trapped in houses inundated by floodwaters across Padang.

Over 1,000 houses are reported to have been inundated in Padang, in 14 subdistricts, with floodwaters recorded at up to two meters deep, from Thursday evening until Friday morning.

A 63-year-old resident of the Arai Pinang residential complex is reported to have died after he slipped during the evacuation and caught a chill.

A major road connecting Padang and Bengkulu was blocked due to landslides in three locations in Painan, South Pesisir.

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