Landslide fears as torrential rain pounds eastern Indonesia

Conditions in the Banda Sea in eastern Indonesia are currently favourable for cyclone development.

    Torrential rain is pounding eastern Indonesia with the village of Saumlaki on Yamdena Island reporting 281mm of rain in the last two days.

    As thunderstorms begin to consolidate into a tropical cyclone, there are fears that more heavy rain could trigger landslides in the region. Conditions in the Banda Sea in eastern Indonesia are currently favourable for cyclone development.

    The temperature of seawater is approximately 29 degrees Celsius, which is above the 27C required for a cyclone to form.

    The winds high up in the atmosphere are not too strong to disrupt any circulation from forming. And there is a good outflow to the system, which should allow the storm to build.

    It may result in a cyclone developing within the next 24 hours, which could track slowly southwestwards.

    East Timor and the tiny Indonesian islands of Leti and Babar are all in the line of fire from this storm, with some parts expecting as much as 750mm of rain.

    That amount of rain may cause flooding and landslides, which are common in Indonesia, partially due to deforestation.

    A landslide in western Java on New Year's Eve led to the deaths of 15 people.