Despite wide showers overone million gripped by drought


By Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Recent showers across the country have eased the severe drought experienced in 18 districts, but experts say it wasn’t enough to make up for months extreme dry condition.

According to the latest information from the drought monitoring Unit at the Disaster Management Centre (DMC), 1,072,392 people of 260,055 families in Trincomalee, Batticaloa, Gampaha, Kalutara, Hambantota, Matara, Monaragala, Badulla, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Mulitivu, Mannar, Vavuniya, Kandy, Kilinochchi, Ratnapura, Kurunegala and Puttalam were under the effect of the drought.

Meteorology Department Duty Meteorologist Darshana Shamil Premaratne told The Island that the recent rains helped in the short term but more rain was needed to end the drought

According to him, the prevailing weather condition couldn’t be catergorised as a drought as during a drought rains couldn’t be expected. Since there were several spills of rains throughout the extreme weather period this was a dry weather condition but not a drought.

Premaratne noted that rains would be expected till January 31 and there were very limited possibilities of receiving considerable amount of rain till the end of March.

He however explained that the prevailing dry weather condition was normal as at the beginning of every year Sri Lanka received less rain compared to mid year.

If the country received a considerable amount of rains during the second inter-monsoon period, the country would have to manage with dry weather during these months, he noted.

Met Department’s weather forecast for today (24) stated that the wave type atmospheric disturbance was expected to affect the weather over the country and surrounding sea area and under its influence showery and windy conditions were expected to continue over the country and adjacent sea areas.

The Department predicted very heavy showers (around 150mm) in the Eastern part of the country and heavy showers (more than 100mm) at some places elsewhere. However it said showers and thundershowers would occur over most parts of the country.

Fairly strong winds at times of about 40-50kmph and temporary localized strong winds during thundershowers would also be expected over the country, the Met Department said.

General public was requested to take adequate precautions to minimize damages caused by lightning activity.

According to the Ceylon Electricity Board (CEB) hydro-power generation had dropped to 9.4 percent and the rains received to the hydro power catchment areas was insufficient to fill the reservoirs yet.


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