Adverse weather claims two lives

Extreme weather

Two deaths due to the adverse weather experienced across the country were reported yesterday from Kegalle.

According to the Disaster Management Center (DMC), a man (48) was swept away by floodwaters in the Kegalle – Wattaram Ela area and later found dead, while a woman (65) remains missing after an earth embankment collapsed on her home in Waldeniya, Kegalle.

According to the Department of Meteorology Galigamuwa, Kegalle had received the highest rainfall of 214 mm during the 24 hours ending Saturday.

The Department has issued a red warning for Sri Lanka signalling severe adverse weather due to a low-pressure area over the southeast Bay of Bengal developing into a depression.

According to the Department, the depression about 670 km north-east of Trincomalee is likely to intensify rapidly into a severe cyclonic storm.

It has been forecast that the prevailing rainy conditions particularly in the south-western part is likely to continue. “Very heavy showers above 150mm are likely at some places.

Wind speed can increase up to 40-50 kmph” a release issued by the Department said. Showers or thundershowers are forecast for the Southern, Western, Sabaragamuwa and Central provinces with isolated very heavy showers exceeding 150mm over the weekend.

The Department also issued warnings to fisherfolk to not go out to sea until further notice as the seas around the Island are expected to become rough. “The sea area extending from Colombo to Pottuvil, Galle, and Hambantota will be very rough at times” the warning said. The Meteorology Department requested fishermen who are currently engaged in fishing in these sea areas to return to land or safe places immediately.

The National Building Research Organization (NBRO) has also issued landslide warnings to eight districts, namely, Galle, Matara, Matale, Ratnapura, Kalutara, Kegalle, Colombo, Kandy, and Kurunegala. The NBRO has identified high-risk areas in each of these districts and requested the residents to be vigilant on the possibility of landslides, slope failures, rock falls, cutting failures and ground subsidence, if the rains continue.

The effects of the heavy rain are being felt across the country. Yesterday around 44, 000 families in the Ratnapura, Kegalle, Galle, Matara, Kurunegala, and Hambantota districts experienced power outages as severe rains damaged the power lines in these areas. According to sources, 5,600 families in Bandarawela, 3,000 in Ratnapura, 5,800 in Matara – Hakmana, 13, 000 in Gampaha, 780 in Nuwara Eliya 12, 000 in Anuradhapura and 4,200 in Trincomalee have been left without power. It is expected that power will be restored in the affected areas within 24 hours.

Minor floods were also experienced in several areas across the country including Kegalle. According to the DMC transport in some areas has been hampered as a result. Water levels of the Ma Oya have risen to a minor flood level in the Giriulla area. According to the Department of Irrigation, the Giriulla – Kurunegala road could become inundated if the rains continue. The Kelani River water levels are also rising in the Holombuwa area. The Attanagalu Oya too is reaching dangerous levels in the Dunamale area according to Department officials. People in low lying areas of the Kalu, Kelani, and Gin rivers have been asked to remain vigilant.

(Source: Sunday Observer – by Maneshka Borham)