Wed, 23 Aug 2000

Rainy season should start in October, weather agency says

JAKARTA (JP): With the weather in Indonesia settling into its normal pattern starting this month, this year's wet season should begin in October, the state Meteorology and Geophysics Agency (BMG) said on Tuesday.

"The planting season this year will be supported by rain. There should be a good harvest for farmers," BMG head Sri Diharto told reporters after an inauguration of the agency's new operational center in Kemayoran, Central Jakarta, by Vice President Megawati Soekarnoputri.

Sri Diharto said La Nina, a freak weather phenomena which hit Indonesia and caused heavy rains during the present dry season, had disappeared and the weather in most parts of the country had settled into its normal pattern since this month.

He said that based on cloud conditions observed by the agency and the movement of the sun, the temperature in most parts of Indonesia would drop between September and December.

The wet season, he said, would continue until a drought began in March.

Areas lying along the equator, such as West Kalimantan, West Sumatra and Riau, however, would receive much more rainfall throughout the year, he said.

Sri Diharto warned that El Nino, a freak weather phenomena which caused severe drought across Indonesia and the region in 1997, would return next year, albeit in a milder form.

Besides causing massive harvest failures, El Nino, which means "the boy" in Spanish, also led to extensive forest fires in Sumatra and Kalimantan.

He predicted that the condition in 2001 would not be as serious as in 1997.

"This will be a soft El Nino which should not cause too much trouble," Diharto predicted. (01)