Tropical depression threatens flooding across Sri Lanka

The last week or so has seen torrential downpours across southern parts of the Bay of Bengal.

Southern India and Sri Lanka have both been badly affected and there has been some flooding.

The daily downpours look set to continue into the weekend.

On Wednesday morning, Sri Lanka’s Department of Meteorology announced that a tropical depression had formed just to the southeast of the country.

It is expected to strengthen for a time as it moves along the southern coast. Warnings have been issued for heavy rain, rough seas and strong winds. Gusts of over 60 kilometres per hour are expected.

This brings the inevitable risk of further flooding and the potential for mudslides.

Recent rainfall has been particularly heavy across the eastern half of the country with the northeasterly monsoon bringing plenty of moist air in from the Bay of Bengal.

Trincomalee in the Eastern Province had 57mm of rain the 24 hours up to 0600GMT on Tuesday.

Nearby, Batticoloa began the week with 107mm of rain in the same space of time. That amounted to almost a third of the November average rainfall of 340mm.

Meanwhile, Nuwara Eliya in the tea country hills of central Sri Lanka recorded 92mm of rain on Tuesday. Much of the island can expect 25 to 75mm of rain over the next day or two with the close proximity of the potential cyclone.

Southern and eastern parts of the country are likely to see the heaviest downpours with daily totals approaching 150mm in places.

The rain should ease by Sunday as the tropical disturbance moves into the Arabian Sea.

Any respite from the heavy rain is likely to be short-lived as another tropical system developing near the Andaman and Nicobar Islands may arrive as early as Thursday.

Sri Lanka Disaster Management Center (DMC) Wednesday warned of adverse weather with possible landslides as heavy rains are expected to lash the country for the next few days.

The DMC issuing an alert at 15:30 local time said low pressure area in the vicinity of Sri Lanka has developed in to a depression and hence heavy rains and gusty winds of around 60 kmph can be expected over the island.

The Meteorology Department issuing a weather alert said the low pressure area in the vicinity of Sri Lanka has developed in to a depression and it is expected to develop further and move away from the island along the southern coast.

“Hence, heavy rains, strong winds and rough seas can be expected further in the deep and shallow sea areas around the island and heavy rains and gusty strong winds (about 60) kmph over the island.”

Showers or thundershowers will occur most parts of the island and very heavy falls of above 150mm can be expected at some places in the Southern, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Western province. Heavy falls (above 100 mm) can be expected at some places elsewhere, the Met Department said.

“Very heavy rains, very strong winds and very rough seas can be expected further in the deep and shallow sea areas around the island,” the Meteorology Department said urging the naval and fishing communities to refrain from naval activities in the sea off the country.

Spokesman for the Disaster Management Center, Pradeep Kodippili people are warned of floods in the areas with rivers and landslides in the mountainous areas.

The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) issued an alert on possibility of landslides in Matale district and Medadumbara divisional secretariat division and surrounding areas in Kandy district.

In a warning issued at 3:00 p.m. Wednesday NBRO urged the public in the affected districts, if the rains continue, to be watchful on the possibility of landslides, slope failures, rock falls, cutting failures and ground subsidence since the rainfall within the past 24 hours has exceeded 75mm.

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