The North East Monsoon has begun. All across the land people are turning their faces to the sky, breathing the cool, moist air. The farmers are breathing deep sighs of relief.
We’ve had drought. The South West Monsoon was poor. Too often, the soils are baked hard as rock, offering little refuge for the water crashing down from above. Flooding is reported. In other places land-slips.
With the rain comes the wind, and the thunder and lightning. These storms aren’t occasional romantic, bravura performances. They build for a few hours in the heat of the middle of the day, and sweep down spitefully wherever the clouds reach saturation point.
In Colombo, they’re mostly ‘Camelot’ showers, crashing down and moving away as quickly as they came. But the paddy fields at the bottom of the hill are quenched and green. Cranes and egrets are fishing.
Here’s the timeline of yesterday afternoon’s storm, minus sound-effects, unfortunately (The Girls were torn between following me as I shot it, and safety under the bed in the spare room, which is where Podi was later found).
Although it was short, its intensity helps explain these MMS alerts from my local news service this last week or so:
4.15 pm October 10 - A lightening strike kills a husband and wife in Medawachchiya (Anuradhapura) a short while ago.
8.20 pm October 10 – A group of local and foreign tourists are reportedly trapped on high land inside Minneriya forest due to rise of water lever after rain. [They were rescued later that night]
October 17 - Heavy traffic reported towards Colombo and Chilaw as the Colombo Road between Kurana and 20th Mile Post is under water due to rain.
October 18 – Several roads in Colombo are under water due to rain. Heavy traffic reported on the High Level Road from Havelock Town to Thunmulla Junction.
October 20 – Landslide risk in several up-country areas in next 24 hours including Ganga Wata Korale, Udunuwara, Yatinuwara, Pathadumbara, Hewaheta and Akurana.
October 21 - At least 14 passengers were injured when a bus skidded off the road and plunged into a cliff in Watawala this evening.
October 22 - A rescue operation is underway to rescue a two and a half year old child buried under an earth mound which destroyed the child’s house in Attanagalla.
October 22 - An earth-slip between the 201 and 203 Mile Posts on Beragala-Wellawaya Road blocking traffic. Motorists are advised to use alternative routes.
October 23 - Heavy mist in Nuwara Eliya; public requested to be cautious of earth-slips in hill areas. Thunder showers likely to continue.
October 23 - Damage has been caused to a wall near the Lion’s Paw at Sigiriya following a lightning strike. Heavy rain reported in Dambulla.
Spare a thought for these and thousands of others whose homes have been flooded, lives imperilled.
The droplet of water cupped in the Lotus Leaf is for Cee, whose “Water” challenge this week inspired this post.