Sporadic downpours, flooding to continue in Jakarta until May

The intermittent showers that have poured down on Jakarta over the last four days are normal for this time of the year, as unpredictable weather typically marks the run up to the dry season from March to April, according to the Meteorology, Climatology and Geophysics Agency (BMKG).

Although the wet season was supposed to have ended in March, heavy rain fell near the South Jakarta-Tangerang border in Bintaro and Bumi Serpong Damai on Thursday, causing flooding as high as 40 centimeters on the toll road linking the two residential areas. The flood also caused heavy gridlock on the toll road until the late evening.

The closure of the toll road, which connects satellite suburbs Serpong and Parung to Jakarta, forced private car drivers to swarm low-capacity residential streets in Bintaro.

“I was stuck for more than three hours in Bintaro because of the congestion on my way home from my office,” 48-year-old Riena Juliana said on Friday.

Friday’s rainstorm in Bintaro, which led to massive congestion in the residential area, was just the latest chapter in a string of weather-induced traffic woes that hit Greater Jakarta this week.

On Tuesday, a thunderstorm coupled with strong winds hit a number of areas in Jakarta throughout the day, triggering floods that disrupted traffic in several areas along Jakarta’s intercity toll road.

The thunderstorms also uprooted trees in Lebak Bulus in South Jakarta, Joglo in West Jakarta and Dukuh Atas in Central Jakarta, leading to massive gridlock in surrounding areas.

The heavy rain also inundated several other areas, such as Cideng and Jl. Pejambon in Central Jakarta, and Gandaria City mall and Jl. Fatmawati, South Jakarta.

The police have warned motorists to be careful, suggesting that they avoid driving through puddles as it is hard to estimate the depth.

The BMKG’s head of meteorology information, Hary Tirto Djatmiko, suggested that the citizens of Jakarta and its greater areas brace for more precarious weather, which might lead to unexpected floods and traffic jams until May, when the intensity of rains might decrease.

He argued that the March–April period was a transitional season marked by a quick changes between sunny weather and heavy rain. During the transitional season, Hary said, Jakartans could expect heavy downpours in the afternoon and night with rainfalls measuring 20 to 50 millimeters per day.

“However, the pattern of the recent rains is still normal. We experience this kind of pattern every year,” Hary said on Friday.

“The transitional season has three phases — the beginning, the middle and the end. Currently, we are at the end of the transitional season,” he added.

On its website, the BMKG forecasts that the accumulative rainfall in Jakarta and its surrounding areas, such as Bogor, Bekasi and Tangerang, may reach a medium-to-high level of 201-300 millimeters in April.

The agency forecasts that accumulative rainfall is likely to shrink to 151-200 millimeters in May, before plunging to 51-100 millimeters when the dry season arrives in June.

In other parts of Indonesia, such as in Medan, Pekanbaru, Yogyakarta, Surabaya and Palangkaraya, the current pattern of rainfall, which will remain medium in April and May, will then plunge to 51-100 millimeters.

Aceh and some parts of Bali, meanwhile, are forecast by the agency to retain their current dry weather with low rainfall. The two provinces are forecast to see accumulative rainfall as low as 21-50 millimeters in May and June. (sat)