Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Sources of flash floods

Borneo Post via Bernama (Indonesia): ...Flash floods being a recurring phenomenon to city dwellers, they have become part of their lives. However, encountering a flash flood can still cause them nightmares. Many motorists who use Jalan Tun Razak, particularly the stretch near the National Library, still remember what happened on Dec 13, 2011.

Exceptionally heavy rain, which lasted for about two hours, caused a flash flood, trapping thousands of motorists heading home from work. The flash flood occurred when Sungai Bunus overflowed its banks and the water spilled onto Jalan Tun Razak and the surrounding areas.

...Flash floods happen suddenly, after which the water level recedes within a short period of time. But what actually causes the flash floods? ... Many point their fingers at local authorities. Others blame narrow rivers and clogged drains. Some say it is due to climate change.

To environmental activist S Piarapakaran, it is unfair to blame climate change for flash floods. Climate change, he said, takes place because of human greed in destroying nature. “It is like when we have fever due to infection. Likewise, it is just natural for earth to adapt to changes in the surroundings. Climate change cannot be stopped. It will continue until equilibrium is achieved. “But with technology we can be more prepared to mitigate the effects of climate change,” he said.

Piarapakaran said flash flooding is closely related to the clearing of forests to fulfill the country’s growth and development. ... “This has directly increased the surface water flow (rain water that flows on top of earth’s surface) during rainfall,” he explains....

A 1900 Tropenmuseum image of a flood in Western Sumatra, via Wikimedia Commons

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