Tuesday 21 February 2017

Thousands of homes flooded in Jakarta, Indonesia.

Thousands of homes have been flooded in Jakarta, Indonesia, after 144 mm of rain fell in the city in 24 hours from 6.00 am on Monday 20 February 2017 till 6.00 am on Tuesday 21 February. Water levels as high as 1.5 m have been reported in parts of the city, leading to flooded homes, abandoned cars and closures of schools and businesses. However there are no reports of any injuries or fatalities; which local authorities are claiming is due to a campaign of river dredging and slum clearances initiated after a flood in 2013 that killed 20 people.

Flooding in the Petogokan District of south Jakata on Tuesday 21 February 2017. Edy Susanto/Gresnews.

Jakata has a tropical monsoon climate, with peak rainfall in January and February, but this weeks rains have exceeded the typical amount for the entire of February. This is likely to be linked to a La Niña weather system over the southern Pacific, which has brought flooding to many parts of Southeast Asia. 

The effects of a La Niña weather system in December-February. NOAA.

The La Niña weather system is the opposite of the El Niño weather system, in which unusually cold surface temperatures spread across the equatorial Pacific from the upwelling zone on the South American coast. This traps warm water from the western Pacific, preventing it from spreading east and warming the central Pacific. This leads to lower evaporation over the (cooler) east Pacific, leading to low rainfall on the west coast of South America, and higher evaporation over the (warmer) west Pacific, leading to higher rainfall over East and Southeast Asia and northern Australia.

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