Pre-monsoon rains cause flooding across Sri Lanka

A developing tropical cyclone has brought torrential rains over southern parts of the Bay of Bengal.

Pre-monsoon rains cause flooding across Sri Lanka
The Sri Lankan capital has been lashed by heavy rains causing major traffic jams throughout the city [Lakruwan Wanniarachchi/AFP]

Heavy downpours have been bearing down on Sri Lanka for the past few days. There has been widespread flooding in parts of the country and the next few days look just as unsettled.

Kandy saw 69mm of rain and Galle had 71mm of rain in the 24 hours up to 0600GMT on Sunday. Meanwhile Colombo recorded 128mm. Pottuvil was even wetter with 144mm in the same period of time.

We are approaching the wet season but when you consider that Colombo has a May average rainfall of 371mm, that total represents more than a third of the monthly rainfall in just one day.

The large area of low pressure responsible, formed in the southern Bay of Bengal on Thursday evening. It currently lies around 400km to the east of Sri Lanka.

What began as a large clutch of thunder storms has now developed into an increasingly organised circulation. According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center ‘the disturbance has favourable conditions for further development’.

Recent computer projections show the centre of the storm moving over Sri Lanka and south India on Sunday and Monday. It is possible that the system could even become the Northern Indian Ocean’s first tropical depression of the season.

The cyclone season runs from April to November, and tends to peak during late May, just before the southwesterly monsoon, which brings the summer rains across South Asia.

This year’s pre-monsoon cyclone season has the potential to produce some unusually intense tropical cyclones. That is because sea surface temperatures across the region are at near-record levels, between 1C – 2C above average.

Source: Al Jazeera