SRI Lanka is ready to face the El Niño weather phenomenon in the last quarter of 2015 and take precautions based on the experience of the recent past, local media reports said here on Tuesday.
Temperatures have remained above average this year and a prolonged dry spell has left over 200,000 in the Northern Province of the country without safe drinking water. However officials from the Meteorological Department (MD) and the Disaster Management Center (DMC) said the impacts were manageable.
According to Global weather forecasts, the periodic warming of the Pacific Ocean called El Niño has now set in and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology said in an update on Oct. 13 that the strong El Niño is expected to last until at least the end of the year before declining in the first quarter of 2016.
However, some assessments also predict that South Asia was likely to receive above average rains in late 2015. The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs said that countries on the equator could expect more rain, flooding and higher sea levels as El Niño takes hold.
“We have analyzed past weather patterns when El Niño was active and what we have seen is that in the last quarter of the year rains, in fact, increase in this part of the globe,” L. Chandrapala, Director General of the Meteorological Department said.
“More rains in the last quarter of the year would be welcome following a weak South West Monsoon. The monsoon was below 75 percent this year,” he added.
The failure of the rains and high temperatures have caused ground water resources to dwindle in the Northern Province. Over the last two months, the Disaster Management Center has been supporting local authorities to deliver water to the worst-hit communities.
However, Chandrapala said Sri Lanka is now better prepared to deal with fluctuating climate trends that have resulted in frequent extreme weather events.
Sri Lanka has seen five major floods and four major droughts since 2010, attributed by changing climate, media reports said. Enditem