Wed, 29 Nov 2000

Tropical storm 3B to drift away

JAKARTA (JP): Sumatra may get a reprieve from the recent storms and torrential rains that have caused landslides and flooding in many parts of the island as weathermen predict improving conditions in coming weeks.

Head of the Meteorology and Geophysical Agency (BMG) Sri Diharto said on Tuesday that after a few days the rain should die down, "but residents in regions of eastern Indonesia, especially in Maluku, have to watch out because an unnamed tropical storm is approaching from the southern Philippines and could cause heavy weather there".

Sri told The Jakarta Post that heavy rains will continue for the next few days in Sumatra as a result of tropical storm 3B.

The torrential rains falling for days in Aceh, North Sumatra and West Sumatra are a result of a tropical storm called "3B" which formed in the western part of Aceh, he explained.

"From Nov. 18 to Nov. 19 the depression built into a tropical storm, causing heavy rains from Nov. 20 to Nov. 21, peaking on Nov. 23 when over 200 millimeters fell causing the landslides," Sri said.

But based on BMG observations, it is likely the 3B storm will drift away and hopefully cause the rain to subside.

"In southern parts of Java, the rain won't be as heavy as in parts of Sumatra.

"People should stay alert since from the end of December to January next year the Asian monsoon will be active causing heavy rains," Sri said, adding that if hard rains occur in areas with widespread environmental damage, it could lead to disasters such as floods and landslides.

Sri Diharto explained that the extreme climate changes have been caused, to some extent, by global warming.

In Indonesia, the impact of global climate change can be seen through the rise of sea level along the northern coast of Java, he said.

"In Semarang and Surabaya, every time a high tide occurs, there is flooding. Such flooding never took place before. Similar effects can be seen in irregular rain fall and the El Nino weather phenomenon," he said.

Global climate changes are caused by, among other things, greenhouse emissions produced from industrialization and pollution from automobiles, he said.(edt)