Cyclone Rounu continues to skirt the coastline of India this morning bringing drenching rainfall and damaging winds.
Already there has been reports of uprooted trees and downed powerlines in the Andhra Pradesh and Odisha states.
This comes after the storm brought torrential rainfall in Sri Lanka earlier this week in its development stage. Some 700-800mm of precipitation in a few locations triggered massive landslides burying over 150 people in deep mud and rubble. As of writing this Friday morning at least 30 casualties have been confirmed. The worst hit areas being in a village some 70km north east of Colombo.
Still today more rainfall wrapping around the back end of Rounu is expected in the area making rescue efforts tough and hazardous. Soldiers from the Sri Lanka Military can be seen working their way through the mud in the rain in the image below.
The rain in Sri Lanka is expected to continue but become less and less heavy over the coming weekend as the storm moves north.
In India though showers will stay in place north of Chennai gradually working their way north east in to Bangladesh by Saturday afternoon through Sunday. Despite this systems forecast to become a “Severe Cyclonic Storm” according to the India Meteorological Department and we could see max wind gust over 100kph along the coast the rainfall will continue to be the main threat. Up to 200-300 mm of additional precipitation is possible triggering flooding in low lying coastal villages. Especially those near rivers vulnerable to flash flooding.
Most of Bangladesh lies just 1-2M above sea level and is very vulnerable to flooding. With this slow moving storm headed this direction residents here should be prepared for river flooding and strong thunderstorms associated with the incoming low.
Last week alone 65 residents were killed in Bangladesh due to lightning strikes from severe thunderstorms in the area. This is a result of cool air out of Tibet clashing with the tropical air masses in the Bay of Bengal. This is still possible with Rounu so residents should also be mindful of strong storms that could flare up prior to the storms landfall starting today and through the entire weekend.
The deadliest tropical system in history was in Bangladesh in 1970 (then Bhola) where 375,000 people lost their lives.