Beware of gusts, lightning when monsoon retreats

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  • The monsoon is expected to retreat by mid-September and people should be alerted to the possibility of thunderstorms, isolated heavy rain, lightning, and gusts which are usually brought by the retreating monsoon.
    The damaging weather patterns which we have faced in May and April during the pre-monsoon and when the monsoon finally entered can repeat due to atmospheric instability when the monsoon retreats.
    Atmospheric instability can trigger rain clouds and the formation of rain clouds will be accompanied by thunder, lightning, heavy rain and strong wind in many regions and states.
    Strong rain clouds will come with lightning strikes, hailstones and twisters.
    Lightning killed at least 70 people and the strong winds destroyed about 10,000 houses during the period from pre-monsoon to May, according to the Disaster Management Department.
    The death toll from lightning strikes is expected to continue to rise year by year. There were also fatalities and injuries from strong winds. Most areas across the country have experienced lightning and strong winds during the day due to high temperatures.
    Since 1980, the country has seen an increase in the number of thunderstorms.
    When there are rainstorms with thunder and lightning, people in these areas should switch off electrical appliances such as television and mobile phones.
    Gale-force winds tend to follow heavy rainfall and can destroy homes and toppled trees.
    Rain fall is expected to decrease in the coming days due to the withdrawal of the monsoon, but we can see rain due to possible depression which can happen in the Bay of Bengal in October and November.
    Meanwhile, it is found that cumulus clouds which cause the lightning strikes and tornadoes have been forming over the country, and people in Magway, Mandalay, Bago and Yangon regions should be alert to possible dangerous weather patterns.
    We should switch off electrical appliances such as televisions and mobile phones when there are rainstorms with thunder and lightning.
    Operators of vessels in rivers in those areas should be alert to tornadoes that can occur during thunderstorms.
    We cannot completely predict disasters, but early preparedness can help mitigate the damage.
    The weather bureau has been providing weather updates to the public in a timely manner through state-run radio, television and newspapers.
    People, on their part, are urged to keep a close watch on weather updates and warnings during the rainy season. It pays to be prepared.
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