Monsoon, climate change brings sea surges on southwest coast: | Daily News


Warnings to sea-bathers, fishing craft:

Monsoon, climate change brings sea surges on southwest coast:

A minor storm surge sent ocean waves surging beyond the beach and flooding across the Galle Road near Ambalangoda yesterday as disaster authorities warned that waves over two meters high could appear in the seas around the country.

The local administration was busy clearing the roads of surge debris and sea sand in Ambalangoda last morning with road traffic on the Galle Road delayed by over two hours due to the blockage caused by invading seas.

However, even as the Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) urged local seaboard communities to prepare with sandbags and other precautions, the Disaster Management Centre said there was “no need for sandbags” as this was merely an annual occurrence due to the Monsoon weather.

Marine Environment Protection Authority (MEPA) General Manager Dr. Terney Pradeep Kumara told news media yesterday that, during high tide prevailing these days high waves and accelerated coastal erosion had already been reported in areas such as Unawatuna, Balapitiya and Thalpe damaging several houses over the past few days. Dr. Kumara requested the public, beachgoers, fishing craft and naval units to take extra safety precautions. He also cautioned residents in the coastal belt to protect their property with temporary barriers or sand bags.

He advised holiday makers and those going for sea bathing to take extra precautions about their safety. “Waves high as 2.4 metres can be expected around 9.30 am in the morning and around 10pm in the night these days. This phenomenon is due to Monsoonal winds and high tide during the full moon Poya. To some extent, the sea level rise owing to climate change has also contributed to it,” he said.

Disaster Management Centre Spokesman Pradeep Kodippili told the Daily News that the stretch of road affected by the surge of sea waves in Ambalangoda was now cleared for vehicular traffic and that it was not an unfamiliar occurrence during this time of the year. “This area is usually affected by high tide during this period. There is no cause for panic and the need for placing of sand bags has not occurred” he told the Daily News.

MEPA General Manager Kumara further explained: “The tides occur due to the gravitational pull of the Sun and the Moon on the Earth. When the Earth, Sun, and Moon are nearly in alignment, the average tidal ranges are slightly greater. This is also called spring tides,” he explained.

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