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Asian Tribune is published by World Institute For Asian Studies|Powered by WIAS Vol. 12 No. 2737

Weather Havoc in Sri Lanka: are we out of the woods yet?

Hemantha Abeywardena writes from Sri Lanka…

Torrential rains, coupled with massive mudslides that wreaked havoc in Sri Lanka do not seem to be showing the much anticipated signs of abating, as a significant volume of moist air is heading towards the island from the West and the South West regions triggering off heavy rainfall.

The latest satellite images show the frustrating weather pattern that develops over the skies of Sri Lanka. Although, the dangers of a cyclone have subsided due to its North East movement towards India while causing severe flooding in Andra Pradesh in India, Sri Lanka, unfortunately, seems to be in the trail left behind by the tropical cyclone.
The recent hot weather experienced by the landmasses in the South Asian region may have contributed to the deadly weather condition that is causing destruction.

Since the oceans do not heat up as fast as the landmasses, an inevitable temperature imbalance develops in the region, which ultimately leads to a pressure deficit between the oceans and the lands, resulting in the formation of ocean-to-land circulation – and of course, plenty of moist air, which brings in rain.

Although, weather disasters of this calibre are often blamed on new weather patterns that carry fancy names, history is awash with anomalies, even in the South Asian region.

During the 3-year period, between 1876-1879, for instance, India experienced one such anomaly, known as monsoon failure. Thanks to a comprehensive study carried out by a British mathematician in the 19th century with the collection of data of decades, a pattern emerged about the nature of monsoon rains: they are both seasonal and directional.

The following animation, based on the live data updated every three hours, shows the wind patterns in the South Asian region as of 21.00GMT. The depression over the Bay of Bengal that is responsible for the recent tragedy could be clearly seen in the animation.

weathermap-srilanka

Unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be in haste to move away from the region towards inland while degrading itself in its potential to cause havoc. That’s not good news for those who live in the coastal areas in the North East regions bordering the Indian Ocean.

- Asian Tribune -

Weather Havoc in Sri Lanka: are we out of the woods yet?
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