One of the deadliest weather-related disaster of 2016 is unfolding in Sri Lanka, where heavy rains from Tropical Cyclone One
have triggered flash floods and landslides that have killed at least 34 people and left 134 missing.
The rains began on Monday, when an area of low pressure that formed on the leading edge of the advancing monsoon began to consolidate just to the southeast of Sri Lanka. Hours of torrential rains triggered massive mudslides Tuesday evening that buried homes and people in the villages of Siripura, Pallebage and Elagipitya in Kegalle District, about 45 miles north of the capital of Colombo. The Sri Lankan Red Cross said 220 families were reported missing on Wednesday, but that the situation was unclear.
According to the April 2016 Catastrophe Report
from insurance broker Aon Benfield, four weather-related disasters so far in 2016 have killed over 100 people:
1) Heat wave in India, 4/1 - 4/30, 300 deaths
2) Flooding in Pakistan and Afghanistan, 4/2 - 4/8, 152 deaths
3) Flooding in Pakistan, 3/9 - 3/29, 141 deaths
4) Winter Weather in China, Taiwan, Korea, Japan and Thailand, 1/20 - 1/26, 116 deathsFigure 1.
Sri Lankan military personnel take part in relief and rescue efforts following a landslide in the village of Bulathkohupitiya on May 18, 2016. (STR/AFP/Getty Images)Figure 2.
Radar image of Tropical Cyclone One from Chennai, India
at 02:20 UTC Wednesday, May 18, 2016. Heavy rains from the storm were affecting the Bay of Bengal coast of India.Forecast for Tropical Cyclone OneTropical Cyclone One
had top sustained winds of 45 mph at 8 am EDT Wednesday, according to the Joint Typhoon Warning Center (JTWC). The India Meteorological Department
(IMD) gave the system top winds of 35 mph (but IMD uses 3-minute average winds for tropical cyclones instead of the 1-minute averaging time used by the U.S., resulting in winds that will be perhaps five percent lower than JTWC's.) Radar images from Chennai, India
on Wednesday showed the storm was not well-organized, but was bringing heavy rains to the east coast of India. Moderate wind shear near 20 knots and warm ocean temperatures near 30 - 31 C (86 - 88°F) should allow some modest intensification through Thursday. By Thursday evening, the storm will be passing over an ocean eddy with low total heat content and unusually cool water,
which should discourage development. At that time, the storm will also be getting embedded in a trough of low pressure with high wind shear, which should cause weakening. Relatively cool waters with low total heat content also lie in the the extreme northern portion of the Bay of Bengal, so the storm will likely continue to weaken as it approaches landfall in the northern Bay of Bengal on Saturday. The Wednesday morning run of the HWRF model
goes along with this idea, showing little change in strength for the storm on Friday and Saturday, with TC One making landfall on Saturday as a tropical storm.
The global weather summary for April 2016 will be posted later today.