Developing Tropical Cyclone Brings Severe Weather to Sri Lanka
As of May 19, more than 418,000 people in 22 districts in Sri Lanka have been affected by extreme weather conditions, especially in the districts of Colombo and Gampaha (ReliefWeb/UNOCHA, Sri Lanka Red Cross). According to reports, much of Sri Lanka experienced strong winds and very heavy rains at the start of the week which triggered flooding and landslides in several areas of the country (ECHO). Continued heavy rainfall also led to river overflows, with reports of many areas along the Kelani River still inundated (ReliefWeb/DMC).
After two days of torrential rains, on May 17, an “entire side” of the Siripura mountain in the Aranayake district collapsed into the valley below, burying three villages (IFRC). As of May 19, response and initial relief efforts are ongoing.
Over the next 24 hours, a landslide watch remains in effect for the districts of Kandy, Rathnapura, Kurunegala, Nuwaraeliya, Kegalle, Matale, and Kalutara (NBRO). Strong windy conditions and fairly-heavy-to-very-heavy rainfall is expected to continue over the next few days (DMC).
The flooding and landslides that occurred in Sri Lanka this week have been linked to the effects of a slow-moving tropical disturbance in the Bay of Bengal, which has recently intensified into a tropical cyclone (ReliefWeb/IFRC, NASA).
As of May 19 (2100 UTC), Tropical Cyclone Roanu is moving away from Sri Lanka, and located approximately 81 nautical miles south-southeast of Visakhaptnam, India (JTWC Warning #7). According to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center, Roanu is expected to slightly intensify before making landfall near Chittagong, Bangladesh.
RVA Profile: Sri Lanka
This Week in Hazards:
- On May 18, two strong earthquakes of magnitude 6.7 and 6.8 struck near the town of Rosa Zárate in the Esmeraldas province of Ecuador (USGS, ECHO). Neither earthquake triggered tsunami watches or warnings (PTWC).
- Severe drought conditions persist throughout parts of southern Africa. As the region sees the end of seasonal rains, recovery from the effects of poorly-distributed rainfall since late last year is unlikely (CPC).
- With restoration efforts underway in areas of Fort McMurray, Canada, and depending on wildfire conditions, phased re-entry for evacuated residents is planned to begin on June 1 (Gov. of Alberta). As of May 19, the Fire Danger for Alberta remains at high-to-extreme levels, with “out-of-control” fires continuing to burn in parts of Fort McMurray, Edmonton, and Lac La Biche (CWFIS, Alberta Agriculture & Forestry).
Current Hazard Warnings
Flood: Sri Lanka, Indonesia, Haiti, Dominican Republic, United States (Texas, Nebraska, Wyoming), Somalia, Ethiopia
Drought: Micronesia, Melanesia, South/Southeast Asia, Southern Africa (Madagascar), the Americas (United States, Bolivia)
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