Thursday, December 17, 2009

Rained Out (East Coast Monsoon)

The August-December semester is over now, carry-marks given, final exams sat for, invigilation ended. I forgot to take photos of the invigilation exercise, but can do so again in May. Right now, I want to show what happens when a scheduled event gets rained out. Monsoon rained out, that is.

On Saturday, 5 December, our college's Student Affairs Department (Hal Ehwal Pelajar) had a scheduled event: the Annual Beach Run, with assorted activities for children. One may wonder why schedule a beach run for the middle of the monsoon season, since the Beach Run has been held in July or August in the past.

(Left: Breakfast buddies waiting out the rain; activity tents in background)

Well, you must realise that the school year is nearly over, and the HEP had little to show for activities for this year. Thus, they felt that they had to schedule something before 31 December whether it made sense or not. And, of course, lecturers were required to attend (diwajibkan). It didn't matter that 95% of the lecturers did not show up; as the resident white guy, I would have been noticed by my absence. So, on went the jeans (rolled up), rain jacket, flip flops and umbrella, and on through the swampy puddles slogged I to the park to find a group of male lecturers -my breakfast buddies- waiting out the rain in the nearby food stalls.

(Photo right: We were the only customers.)

As you can see over the top of the lecturers' heads, a group of tents covering part of the parking lot. This is where the activities for the school children were to be held. And beyond the tents, you may be able to see white ocean waves crashing up under the Casuarina trees. Yeah, that's the beach. Beach Swim would have been a better title this year.

After several cups of Milo, and checking with the female colleagues who had brought their children to the tents, things kind of drifted to a pre-mature close, and I slogged my way home. As a former hydrologist, and current civil engineering lecturer (including hydrology), it is rare for one to see what is called overland runoff (air larian permukaan). I got some photos of this phenomenon, with water running off the land and sidewalk, where it had been pooling, into one of the park's ponds. As can be seen in the photo, all drains were running to capacity.

Upon reaching home (I live within 5 minutes of the park), I took a measure of the rainfall intensity, which had let up quite a bit by that time. I measured ~16 mm/hour (0.6"/hour), which is not that impressive of an intensity until one realises that this is an intensity that can go on for hours, even days, at a time.

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