More heavy rains and flooding have slammed through Sri Lanka during the last week. Meanwhile a struggle to get sufficient water into the Middle East has persisted. In southeast Asia, the mixed bag of above normal and below normal rainfall has continued. Cold temperatures remain firmly in place across China, North Korea and India.
The rains have been unrelenting in Sri Lanka as yet another round of heavy rains trigger flooding on the eastern side of the island. More than 350,000 people have been displaced and at least 2 are dead following torrential rains in Batticaloa District in Eastern (which is not surprisingly on the eastern coast of the country). Reservoirs are now full and for those who read my last Africa Update, know that there is only one thing that happens at that point: the government opens the dams. As a result additional flooding is likely along rivers in this region, even after (if?) the rains stop.
In the Middle East we are having the exact opposite problem. Drought, as defined by several governments in the region, has been declared. Thus far I have seen the meteorological agencies in Syria, Iraq and Israel state that they are in a drought. It is possible that Jordan, Lebanon and Turkey may well soon follow. This drought is somewhat complex, the main problem isn't so much the lack of water, but instead its distribution. A few weeks ago there was a rather strong low-pressure system that moved through the area. That system erased most of the deficits in Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Syria and Iraq. However, because so much time had passed before and, and subsequently afterward, with no rain, water supplies are suffering. Some moderate rain and snow is possible over most of Turkey during the coming week.
Southeast Asia continues to mystify me a bit. This should be a wet season there, however instead dry weather seems to keep shoving its way into certain areas, primarily in the east. Sumatra, eastern Java and eastern Borneo (both in Indonesia and Malaysia) have been leaning on the dry side. That is not to say that there aren't any areas wildly above normal. Southern Thailand, much of the Philippines and Sulawesi have been repeatedly been slammed by heavy rainfall, and regular isolated flooding has been the result. Mainland Malaysia has also been wet, but not the south near Singapore.
Life threatening cold air is likely to remain in place across China, North Korea and northern India over the next week. There is a slight possibility of some easing by next Monday. Generally though it can be expected that the cold will be the cause of additional deaths and other problems. Cold air damming and smog will likely remain firmly in place across northern India. Cold air has also made its way into central Asia, although precipitation has not been cooperating thus far in allowing for the all critical snow pack to build up.