Rain expected at all drought hit areas this month

Sep 11 (IL) The Meteorological Department says rain can be expected in the drought affected areas in the North and North Central regions later this month.

MET Department Director G.H.P. Dharmaratne said inter-monsoonal showers are expected in late September and would continue till November.

"After November we hope the Northeast monsoon showers will begin and continue till February. This monsoon is vit alforagriculturalpurposesintheregion.Thisyear'sdisasteroccurredbecausetherewaslowrainfallduringtheinter-monsoonandNortheastmonsoon.ThelastNortheastmonsoonsawanaveragerainfallofbelowfiftypercent,Mr.Dharmaratnesaid.BRFONTP

However the director warned that according to the World Area forecast there would be lesser rainfall in the drought affected regions in October and November.

"But these predictions can go wrong. It all depends on the direction of the northerly winds, which bring the rain. If the northerly winds reach the country over India, then there will be less rain. But if it arrives from the east over the Bay of Bengal then there will be sufficient rainfall", Mr Dharmaratne added.

The MET Department has already advised all forecasters in the drought stricken areas to assess the rain patterns of the inter-monsoon. "The inter-monsoon would give us an indication of what to expect from the Northeast monsoon. This was not done successfully last year and the country was not prepared to face the drought", said Mr. Dharmaratne.

Meanwhile, commenting on the current thundershowers in the Western Province Mr. Dharmaratne said this was due to a weakening of the Southwest monsoon, and said the wet weather would last for a maximum of another 48 hours. Thundershowers have been experienced in Hambantota as well, which is the only southern district affected by the drought.