Special problems faced by Sri Lanka as a smaII island with regard to early warning systems for cyclonic storms

Prabhath Patabendi
Team for Disaster Prevention and Sustainable Development, 131/8 Hokandara North, Hokandara, Sri Lanka.
Tel. : +94 1 579151, Fax: +94 1 561492,
E-mail: pramod.silva@itmin.com or pramod@solaris.lanka.net

In the Bay of Bengal a depression often develops into a cyclonic storm which affects Sri Lanka and the Maldives. November–December time is regarded as the cyclonic season in Sri Lanka, since over 80% of cyclonic occurrences have been recorded during this period. The average lifetime of cyclonic storms in our region is about 4-5 days. Not all cyclones create havoc - many dissipate after passing over a landmass and some dissipate over the ocean itself.

The development and movement of cyclonic disturbances in our region is closely monitored by the following methods: (1) Cyclone warning radar, (2) the collection of surface and upper air data, (3) the analysis of cloud imagery from the polar-orbiting WOAA satellites and the Japanese geostationary meteorological satellite. However, the prediction of speed, direction of movement and intensification of cyclonic activity needs to be studied further and improved.