Country experiencing inter-monsoon conditions


by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) said yesterday that nine people had been killed after being struck by lightning so far this year and the Meteorology Department warned of strong winds during thunder showers spreading across the country.

"Lightning is a natural disaster, and we always try to educate people living in the countryside to be careful, especially during rainy season," DMC, Deputy Director Media Sarath Lal Kumara said, adding that two people died after being struck by lightning only within this week.

He said that two people who went to bring cattle in Eheliyagoda, Ratnapura died after getting struck by lightning on Thursday evening. The victims were 67 and 57 year old residents of the Eheliyagoda area.

According to statistics, twenty deaths were reported last year due to lightning. In 2011, the total number of deaths due to lightning was 51. In 2012 it was 39.

However the centre warned, though the number of deaths reported due to lightning were significantly reduced last year and people should continue to pay more attention. Meanwhile some 64 houses in Kurunegala have been damaged due to strong winds and heavy rain. Many houses were damaged due to trees being uprooted. Buildings of the Kurunegala Police Station and the Kotalawala Vidyalaya were also impacted, while powers supplies and telecommunication services too were disrupted by falling trees.

Met Department Duty Meteorologist Anusha Warnasuriya yesterday told ‘The Island’ that the country would experience first inter-monsoon conditions during this month and that could cause rain, thunder and lightning storms, and strong gusts of wind specially in the afternoon or evenings.

The Department asked people to take adequate precautions to minimise the damages by lightning.

She said that the current weather conditions would prevail till the end of the month, with rains across the country specially in the paddy growing areas.

"Temperature will vary from time to time this month with high temperature in the morning, which will drop in the evening due to this weather pattern," she said.

"In this first inter-monsoon period strong winds could be expected in all the parts of the country while special attention should be given to reduce the lightning incidents," Waransuriya said.

She explained, "During the month of April it is a usual phenomenon, but general public should take measures to reduce the damages by lightning."

According to Met Department, the highest temperature of 34.8 c was recorded from Polonnaruwa district while the lowest temperature of 21.0c was recorded from Nuwara-Eliya during the 24 hours ending at noon yesterday.

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