Dense, rumbling clouds, sporadic rain and unusually chill temperatures for tropical Bali are continuing far beyond forecasters’ predictions and keeping the normally sunny island in the dark.
The months-long squally weather is not only ruining peak-season holidaymakers’ daytime activities such as sunbathing and surfing but causing financial hardship for Balinese farmers whose crops, such as coffee, are not growing and ready for market due to the lack of sunlight.
Forecasters at the state-run Meteorology and Geophysics Agency had predicted the late-arriving rainy season – which normally ends around April but did not arrive until then – would be over in mid-July.
They said the inclement weather, which has also disrupted ferry services to and from Bali, due to high waves, and hampered sea-fishing operations, was also a result of the cyclical La Niña weather phenomenon in which ocean temperatures are lower than normal, giving rise to wet conditions. It is the opposite of the El Niño effect, which creates dry weather in Indonesia and wet weather on the South American Pacific coast.
Frenchman Mathew Gourgues, 25, has been living in Bali for a year. He told The Bali Times on Saturday that Bali’s weather has steadily become worse.
“Today is not good at all. The weather was good few years ago – blue skies every day. The surfing is also not good at all. Years ago there could be at least 2 meters (high waves), but nowadays the waves are down to 80 centimetres.”
Australian Liam Whitelaw was more upbeat about Bali’s foul weather.
“It is bad but it’s still warmer than home,” the 21-year-old said.
Fellow Australian Jeremy Thomas, 27, was in optimistic mood.
“I can’t complain. It’s better than home. It’s going to get better, though – fingers crossed. Yesterday was cloudy, today too, so that’s why tomorrow we are going to get sunshine,” he said.
The following morning dawned with dark-grey clouds, gusting wind and more rain, however.
The heavy clouds were also hampering satellite TV transmissions on the island, causing signal loss in some areas.
Weather forecasters are predicting more of the same for the coming week, including isolated thunderstorms, with an unusually cool minimum of 24C. Many Balinese, unused to such low temperatures, say they have colds as a result.
The rain has also dampened the start of the annual kite-flying season, where across the island young Balinese send giant kites into the air, where they remain for months.
With reporting by Ahstra Effendy