By Umesh Moramudali, Binoy
Suriyaarachchi and Mirudhula Thambiah
People living along the North Eastern coastal belt were being evacuated as of last night as a major tropical cyclone, that is expected to make landfall in Jaffna, threatened strong sea waves.
The Disaster Management Centre (DMC) yesterday advised people living in coastal areas from Mannar, Jaffna to Trincomalee to move 100 metres towards inland as there is a risk of strong sea waves. DMC Deputy Media Director, Sarath Lal Kumara, told Ceylon Today that most people had already moved inland following the weather warning issued by the DMC.
The US Navy and Air Force Joint Typhoon Warning Centre earlier said tropical storm ‘one’ was forecast to strike Jaffna with maximum sustained winds and high gusts.
“The coastal area, extending from Mannar to Mullaitivu through Kankesanturai, will be rough and unsafe. The general public living in the said coastal areas should be more vigilant as sea waves can be as high as about three to four metres,” he said.
The DMC also advised the public in the Northern Province to be extra cautious today, as the tropical cyclone moving towards the Jaffna Peninsula could cause heavy rainfall.
Sources from the Department of Meteorology said the warning was issued in the wake of a deep depression in the Northern Seas, about 150 kilometres off Trincomalee, which was reported early Saturday (5) morning.
Mullaitivu District Secretary, N. Vethanayagan, told Ceylon Today arrangements had been made to shelter those affected by the cyclone in schools and temples. “Villagers from Kallapadu, Ambil, Semmalai and Vattuvahal were advised to evacuate their houses,” he said.
Meanwhile, in Point-Pedro, sea water had entered the land area and the Army had issued warnings to people to move one kilometre away from their houses.
AccuWeather, website forecast that Tropical Cyclone One (01B) will affect Sri Lanka with heavy rain and gusty winds through the rest of the weekend and into the first part of next week bringing the threat for life-threatening flooding and mudslides.
Waves of rain were already falling across communities such as Trincomalee, Mannar and Anuradhapura this weekend, and the rain will continue to fall through Tuesday of the upcoming week.
There is a concern for flash flooding and mudslides across Sri Lanka, which can wash roads away and make communication more difficult in the areas that see the heaviest rain, it added.