Flooding in Sri Lanka caused by higher-than-normal monsoon rainfall (as of 4 June 2014)

from International Water Management Institute
Published on 04 Jun 2014

NASA’ Tropical Rainfall Measuring Mission (TRMM) real-time data indicates extraordinary flooding is related to unusually strong monsoonal rainfall.

During the days of 31 May – June 4, 2014 considerably higher than normal monsoon precipitation in Sri Lanka particularly the Western and Southern Province. Massive flooding was reported in the districts of Kalutara, Ratnapura and in parts of Colombo, Galle and Matara. Approx. 4 to 6 time increase in the accumulated rainfall compared to the 2013 and 2014 for the same period. For example the Kalutara district received an average accumulated rainfall of 303mm from 31 May – 4th June in 2014 compared to 56mm in 2013. This comparison shows that the monsoon rains in 2014 were heavier and covered a much larger area than for the same period of time in 2013.

At least 22 people were killed and about 27,243 persons from about 7,500 families were displaced by the heavy rains that lashed several parts of the country in the past few days, the Disaster Management Centre said. The low lying areas of Kaluthara District, such as Agalawatta, Palindanuwara, Bulathsinhala,Matugama, Welipenna, Pelawatte, Omantha have been submerged by floods and hundreds of families have been affected (reliefWeb Sources).

So this tragic flooding event is one apparently due to intensification of the water cycle – a common pattern seen in climate modeling as global temperatures increase – causing an increase in atmospheric humidity and precipitation.