No heavy rains till mid-March

Published : 9:00 am  February 15, 2017 | No comments so far |  | 


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By Yohan Perera   
Considerably heavy showers that would end the prevailing drought can only be expected in the country by mid-March 2017, the Department of Meteorology said yesterday. 

Untitled-1A spokesman from the Department said that light showers of about 50mm precipitation were reported last evening but these would not end the drought. Colombo experienced 11.2 mm of rain, Ratmalana 20 mm and Moneragala 22 mm   
Showers were expected in the coming days with fairly strong winds, gusting up to 50 km/hr. In the surrounding sea areas winds up to 60 km/hr were expected.   

Meanwhile, the World Food Programme (WFP) said the total forecast rice production in year 2017 was far below the average of the last ten years.

 “In the best-case scenario, we will have a deficit of 0.6 M. MT of the total national rice requirement (of 2.3 M. MT). If the Yala 2017 is also affected, the total production would be significantly lower, and a deficit of 1.1 M. MT could be expected,” WFP said.   

“The total extent cultivated in the Maha 2016/17 remains the same — at 35% of the total planned extent. Yala 2017 will be cultivated at full extent and will be the same as in year 2016,” the WFP said.   

The WFP reports said the cumulative rainfall received in the country was approximately 23% less than the 30 year average (for the period 1981-2010).   

According to latest data put out by National Disaster Management Centre, some 709,414 persons belonging to 177,787 families in 15 districts have been affected by the prevailing drought situation. The affected districts are Trincomallee, Kalutara, Gampaha, Hambantota, Moneragala, Anuradhapura, Jaffna, Mullaitivu, Kilinochchi, Vavuniya, Ratnapura, Kegalle, Kurunegala, Puttalam and Kandy.