Daily Mirror - Print Edition

Inclement weather wreaks havoc across country

25 May 2024 - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}      

 A person struggles to hold his umbrella when gusty winds sweep through Colombo even churning the otherwise placid sea.
 Pic by Nisal Baduge   

  • Falling trees kill six   
  • Over 35,000 affected   
  • Train services hampered   
  • Over 1,200 houses damaged   
  • Severe cyclonic 
  • storm to be 
  • experienced today

By Sheain Fernandopulle   

Sri Lanka is grappling with severe weather conditions as  the South-West Monsoon continues to unleash heavy rains and strong  winds across the country.   

According to the Meteorology Department, the adverse  weather is expected to persist, particularly affecting the Western,  Sabaragamuwa, Central, North-Western, and Southern Provinces, as well as  the Mannar District.  

It forecast heavy showers exceeding 100 mm in the  Sabaragamuwa Province and Nuwara-Eliya District, while fairly heavy  showers of about 75 mm are anticipated in the Western and North-Western Provinces, as well as in Kandy, Mannar, Galle, and Matara Districts.   

In addition to these regions, scattered showers or  thundershowers are likely elsewhere on the island. Strong winds, ranging  from 50-60 kmph, are expected to batter the Western slopes of the  central hills and the Northern, North-Central, Western, Southern, and  North-Western Provinces, including the Trincomalee District. Other parts  of the island may also experience fairly strong winds of 30-40 kmph.   
Meanwhile, the Disaster Management Centre has reported six  deaths due to falling trees over the last five days, with 1,246 houses  being partially damaged by the bad weather.   

Compounding the weather woes, a developing cyclonic storm  poses a significant threat to the South-Eastern Arabian Sea and the Bay  of Bengal focusing authorities to issue warnings to naval and fishing  communities. The low-pressure area over the South-West Bay of Bengal has  intensified into a depression, currently centred near 15.0°N and  88.4°E as of 5:30 a.m. yesterday (24).   

Meteorological forecasts predict that the depression will  move North-Eastward, developing into a cyclonic storm over the  east-central Bay of Bengal by 5:30 a.m. today, May 25, 2024. It is  expected to intensify further into a severe cyclonic storm by 11:30 p.m.  today. This weather system is likely to bring very strong winds of  60-70 kmph, heavy rainfall, and very rough seas, especially affecting  sea areas around Sri Lanka and the South-Eastern Arabian Sea and Bay of  Bengal.   

Furthermore, the severe weather has caused significant  disruptions to the Sri Lanka Railways reporting major delays on the  up-country train line after fallen trees and rocks blocked the tracks,  leading to widespread service interruptions. The night mail trains to  and from Badulla have been cancelled, along with several other special  trains scheduled for today (25).   

Meanwhile, road traffic between Haputale and Diyatalawa on  the Colombo-Badulla Road was brought to a standstill due to fallen  trees prompting police to advise the drivers to use alternative routes,  including the Bandarawela-Haputale Udapara Road, to avoid the  obstructions. 

Adding to the challenges, the power supply to the Sri  Pada-Nallathanniya area has been disrupted since Thursday evening,  causing hardships for pilgrims visiting Sri Padasthana on the final day  of the pilgrim season. Hatton Town has also experienced intermittent  power failures. 

Additional reporting- Prasad Rukmal, Ranjith Rajapakse, Gamini Ilangatilleka and Saman Palitha Nanayakkara   



This weather system is likely to bring very strong winds of  60-70 kmph, heavy rainfall, and very rough seas, especially affecting  sea areas around Sri Lanka