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How did Met. Dept. miss Cyclone Ockhi?


Comments / {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}} Views / Monday, 4 December 2017 00:00


Most international weather sites warned of downpours in Sri Lanka and South India this week. Some said it may lead to flooding. Accuweather.com gave the warning titled “downpours return” on 23 November, saying rains would come to Sri Lanka and South India the following week. In fact Weather-forecast.com showed the expected path day by day of a depression. It currently shows another smaller depression east of Jaffna which is expected to move towards Chennai and disappear by 5 December.

By Monday 27 November there were many messages and emails about an impending storm and floods this week. However, on Tuesday, 28 November, a daily newspaper carried an article stating that the Department of Meteorology said these foreign forecasts could not be substantiated with the data available to the Meteorological Department. People accepted that and relaxed.

The deep depression intensified into a cyclone named Ockhi, there was heavy rain and strong winds, and people were caught by surprise. Now there is more “fake news” spreading, because the Met. Department has a credibility gap. Now more people will rely on foreign weather sites. All the warnings given by the Met. Department up to that time were of no avail because seeing the statement published in the newspaper, people did not expect such bad weather. 

Our Met. Department is doing its best. It must be further strengthened with the equipment and personnel they need. It must be guided to have a working website which people could easily access. A 10-day forecast is essential. I often speak to a very efficient lady in the Department who has substantially educated me on weather patterns and provides me information whenever I seek. They have the expertise and knowledge. It is better if such useful information is on their new website, and educates people on the weather probably using more illustrations. Their old website was old style but far easier to access.

Sunil G. Wijesinha Colombo 5.


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