Another flooding mega-disaster: Sri Lanka recovers from extreme flooding

By: Dr. Jeff Masters , 1:14 PM GMT on January 19, 2011

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At least 43 are dead and thousands still in refugee camps due to extreme flooding in eastern Sri Lanka caused by record monsoon rains. According to the United Nations, the rains in recent weeks in Sri Lanka have been the heaviest in nearly 100 years of record keeping, and the flood that resulted was a 1-in-100 year event, according to The U.N. Global Disaster Alert and Coordination System. Rainfall at Batticaloa, Sri Lanka, during the 42-day period December 1 - January 12 was 1606 mm (63"), which is about how much rain the station usually receives in an entire year (1651 mm, or 65".) Sri Lanka's previous most devastating flooding disaster was the 2004 tsunami, but as The Economist commented, "in terms of the numbers of people displaced and farmland inundated, the floods have been even more devastating than the tsunami of December 2004." Damage estimates start at $500 million, and much of Sri Lanka's agriculture has been severely damaged by the disaster. Also of concern is the large number of land mines from the recent Sri Lanka civil war that may have been unearthed by the floods. Water is also a major concern in the flood-hit area, as fighting between government forces and Tamil Tigers rebels from mid-2007 to May 2009 damaged or destroyed almost all of the water facilities.


Figure 1. A family affected by the 2011 Sri Lanka floods braves the flood waters. Image credit: United Nations.

Sri Lanka is now the fifth nation in the past six month to suffer a flooding disaster unprecedented in its history. As I reported in a previous post, the other four mega-impact floods--the July 2010 Pakistan floods, the December - January Queensland Australia floods, the November 2010 Colombia floods, and the January 2011 Rio de Janeiro floods--were all accompanied by an atmosphere laden with moisture, due, in part, due to sea surface temperatures over nearby ocean areas that were the 2nd or 3rd warmest on record. However, that was not the case for the Sri Lanka floods. Ocean temperatures during December 2010 were 0.2°C below average in the 5x5 degree square of ocean adjoining the island (5N - 10N, 80E - 85E). The floods appear to be due to the normal monsoon rains that typically affect the region this time of year, enhanced by the strong La Niña event occurring in the Eastern Pacific.


Figure 2. Satellite-estimated precipitation over Sri Lanka for January 3 - 9. Up to 18 inches (525 mm) fell over eastern Sri Lanka. Image credit: NASA Earth Observatory.

Jeff Masters

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oh my god


WOW! the new 18zs

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Reprehensible and trollish.  I may appear naive in my attempts to bring civility to this blog, but I feel that it's important to give EVERYONE the benefit of the doubt, at least at first...

Of course, I'm smart enough to recognize a lost cause when I see one...

I had salmon for lunch today, so your posts about heavy metals in fish were timely.  I read up about methylmercury toxicity while I ate... I love irony.  :)



Quoting JFLORIDA:
Using it as a argumentative ploy is reprehensible.

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People need to be more specific when discussing what is now called "Climate Change." The term only makes sense when discussing the theory of man-made Climate Change and the extent of its effects on the actual naturally-occurring climate cycles. (Though I guess it can be argued that since man's existence on Earth is inherently natural, any product of mankind's doing, whether it be elevated CO2 emissions or not, is likewise technically "natural" as well...) This is what the debate is actually about, man's effect on certain weather patterns, and this is, despite what many egotistical people on both sides of the debate may say, most definitely still an unproven science. Referring to "Climate Change" in terms of just "the changing of the climate" is almost redundant, given that the Earth's climate, by its very nature, is always changing.

That said, humans should be actively pursuing ways to provide cleaner energy to their civilization, regardless of its possible effects on the environment. A healthy earth is beneficial to everyone. Joe's claims that the Earth is cooling are just that: claims. Let the man have his opinion. e should take care of our planet regardless of whether it's cooling, warming, or just staying the same. Stop hating on Joe B and other so-called "deniers"....save the hate for the people who are unwilling to help clean the planet (ie. Big Oil). And to all the hypocrites who constantly point finger and name-call on the internet and elsewhere, but don't do your part.....just STFU.
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Quoting HaloReachFan:
There's only one way to figure something out and it's not by listening to other's.

I'll have to disagree. I do a lot of self-learning, but I find teachers to be absolutely invaluable.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13260
Quoting HaloReachFan:


Nobody likes him anyways.


Well, that's not so true. I may not always agree with JF, but I still like him. :))
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Do these people really think they'll change the other sides mind's?

People that are just lurking should make up their own mind using research on their own time not by what JFLORIDA posts or anybody that is a "denier" posts. There's only one way to figure something out and it's not by listening to other's.
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Quoting HRinFM:
Go back to your middle school global warming experiments


Nobody likes him anyways.
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Well thanks, at least, for not wasting too much of my time.  Your response clearly misses the point and you know it.  I can see that I won't get intelligent discussion out of you and will henceforth save my precious time for more worthy pursuits.  I'll stand proudly behind my comments on this blog and sign them with my real name.  You can continue spreading hatred and bigotry from behind your anonymous moniker.

Dave


Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
"Silverbacks are always ,100% males.I didn't make the rules"

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Quoting Surfcropper:


LOL

Well that's the way of this "community". There are communities in the world that can legally stone a woman to death for removing her face mask & body cast outdoors...even if its 120 degrees out.

That is the way of the community. A healthy online community works the same as human antibodies, swarming to oust every bacterial or viral threat. HIPPOCRITT's very first post in this thread--also her very first post as a member, as she signed up yesterday--was as obviously trollish a comment as one could make: silly, loud, unscientific, and intended only to provoke negative responses in others. So the community acted; the "antibodies" swarmed, and that comment was sent into the ether. There was obviously frustration both ways: HIPPOCRITT was frustrated over not getting the response she wanted, while the community was frustrated over yet another long-time troll adopting yet another handle not to add anything to the forum but merely to pull some immature little "prank".

So, yes, again, that's the way of this community--just as it should be.
Member Since: November 8, 2009 Posts: 4 Comments: 13260
1st time i seen this


URGENT - WEATHER MESSAGE
NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE GRAND FORKS ND
330 PM CST THU JAN 20 2011

...EXTREME COLD TEMPERATURES EXPECTED FOR PORTIONS OF NORTHWEST
MINNESOTA...

.HIGH PRESSURE WILL MOVE INTO NORTHWEST MINNESOTA ALLOWING
TEMPERATURES TO RAPIDLY FALL. LOW TEMPERATURES ARE EXPECTED TO BE
-30 TO -35 FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD. WINDS MAY INCREASE FRIDAY
MORNING AND PRODUCE HAZARDOUS WIND CHILL VALUES FOR A BRIEF PERIOD
OF TIME.

MNZ005-006-008-009-013>017-022>024-028-032-211500-
/O.NEW.KFGF.EC.W.0001.110121T0300Z-110121T1500Z/
ROSEAU-LAKE OF THE WOODS-EAST MARSHALL-NORTH BELTRAMI-PENNINGTON-
RED LAKE-EAST POLK-NORTH CLEARWATER-SOUTH BELTRAMI-MAHNOMEN-
SOUTH CLEARWATER-HUBBARD-EAST BECKER-WADENA-
INCLUDING THE CITIES OF...ROSEAU...BAUDETTE...NEWFOLDEN...
RED LAKE...THIEF RIVER FALLS...RED LAKE FALLS...FOSSTON...
BAGLEY...BEMIDJI...MAHNOMEN...LAKE ITASCA...PARK RAPIDS...
WOLF LAKE...WADENA
330 PM CST THU JAN 20 2011

...EXTREME COLD WARNING IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM
CST FRIDAY...

THE NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE IN GRAND FORKS HAS ISSUED AN EXTREME
COLD WARNING...WHICH IS IN EFFECT FROM 9 PM THIS EVENING TO 9 AM
CST FRIDAY.

* WINDS ARE EXPECTED TO BECOME CALM BY MIDNIGHT ALLOWING
TEMPERATURES TO RAPIDLY FALL.

* TEMPERATURE VALUES OF 30 TO 35 BELOW ZERO ARE EXPECTED DURING
MUCH OF THE OVERNIGHT HOURS.

* WINDS MAY INCREASE FRIDAY MORNING CAUSING HAZARDOUS WIND CHILL
VALUES FOR A BRIEF PERIOD OF TIME.

PRECAUTIONARY/PREPAREDNESS ACTIONS...

AN EXTREME COLD WARNING MEAN THAT DANGEROUSLY LOW TEMPERATURES
ARE EXPECTED FOR A PROLONGED PERIOD OF TIME. FROSTBITE AND
HYPOTHERMIA ARE LIKELY IF EXPOSED TO THESE TEMPERATURES...SO MAKE
SURE A HAT...FACEMASK...AND HEAVY GLOVES OR MITTENS ARE
AVAILABLE.

Member Since: Posts: Comments:
I fail to see why you think it's appropriate to mention a person's sex when you discuss whether or not they are stubborn.  I think we all know males AND females who are guilty of being stubborn and/or always thinking they're right.  The derogatory nick-name you and your friends use reeks of blatant sexism and will only serve to perpetuate hostile feelings between the sexes.  Is that really what you want?

Quoting PalmBeachWeather:
JFLORIDA is one of those typical males that thinks he is always right............Me and my friends call the "THE SILVERBACKS" they beat their chest but that is all they get............Such a loser

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JFLORIDA...The waitress that I called Nicole is now replaced by Nick
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Quoting toddluck:
palm did you ever check your mail

Toddluck,..........I did thanks.Glad that I am not alone
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Palm.... CHECK YOUR MAIL.....
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palm did you ever check your mail
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Quoting pinehurstnc:
dang, this used to be a fun place to visit


It was....once.
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I think some ignorance is spam

you know, I'm really tired of spam getting such a bad reputation... it's quite tasty broiled with some cheddar cheese and ortega chilis....
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Looks like you are losing JFLORIDA
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dang, this used to be a fun place to visit
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onion rings...
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Ain't that sick Surfcropper
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JFLORIDA.I am sure you know I am not a fan of yours (not even close) (actually you are on the bottom of my list regarding the male ego)...Ok, back to the subject of fish....When you have the desire for a romantic fish dinner of Cod or Talapia...Please read where these fish were farmed , or raised,..DO NOT buy fish raised in CHINA....If you want to upchuck tonight, read how China raises these fish....Not to count the drywall or lead in toys, China has no sympathy in regards to selling "CRAP" to the USA.. Please be careful. And as for you JFLORIDA..I sensed a "glimmer" albeit small, of some intelligence
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About JeffMasters

Jeff co-founded the Weather Underground in 1995 while working on his Ph.D. He flew with the NOAA Hurricane Hunters from 1986-1990.