Rains bring misery to coastal areas

*Colombo one of the worst affected

by Maheesha Mudugamuwa

Heavy rains caused by the south-west monsoon, lashed Colombo and other coastal areas countrywide, from the early hours of yesterday (31), hampering all day-to-day activities and affecting thousands of people, especially in the city, during the morning and evening rush hours.

Vehicular traffic came to a standstill due to a number of roads leading to the city being flooded. Thousands of school children were also affected andsome office workers who were caught up in traffic reached their offices several hours late.

The Meteorology Department warned that more showers and thundershowers could be expected today, too, as the south-west monsoon had activated.

The Met Department Duty Forecaster Meril Mendis told The Island that showers or thundershowers would occur at times in the Western, Sabaragamuwa, Central and Southern provinces and showers might extend to the Puttalam and Kurunegala districts, too.

According to Mendis, fairly heavy rains (about 100 mm) are also likely at some places.

He said that the thundershowers would develop at a few places in the Eastern and Uva provinces during the afternoon or evening and southwestern monsoonal winds over the country would be strengthened at times.

According to the Met Department, Ratnapura, Katunayake and Colombo have received the highest rainfall during the past 24 hours.

The Duty Forecaster also said that there would be showers or thundershowers at times in the sea areas off the coast extending from Mannar to Pottuvil via Colombo, Galle and Hambantota.

"Showers can be expected in other sea areas around the country too," he said.

The winds will be blowing in the Southwesterly direction at a speed of 20-40 kmph, according to the Met Department forecast. The speed may increase up to 50-60 kmph at times in the sea areas off the coast extending from Puttalam to Trincomalee via Jaffna and from Galle to Pottuvil via Hambantota. The sea areas off the coast extending from Puttalam to Trincomalee via Jaffna and Galle to Pottuvil via Hambantota will be rough at times.

Meanwhile Disaster Management Centre (DMC) Assistant Director Sarath Lal Kumara said there no major incidents had been reported but most of the city roads had gone under water in the morning.

The submerged roads included Sri Sangaraja Mw, Bloemandhal Road, Ingurukade Junction, Horton place, Town hall and Fort during the morning rush hours.

The DMC said that 35 houses in Batticaloa had been damaged due to strong winds on Thursday night and steps had been taken to repair them.

DMC Assistant Director also said that around 14 students of the Ingara-Dawula Central College in Giriulla, Kurunegala had been admitted to the Dambadeniya Hospital due to lightning yesterday.

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