This year’s southwest monsoon has begun.
Of the two seasons experienced across the archipelago nation, the northeast monsoon is experienced between January and March, with southwest monsoon falling between May and November.
The effects of the southwest monsoon usually occur in the southern atolls in the first or second week of May.
This is followed by central atolls experiencing impacts of the southwest monsoon and by the end of May, the southwest monsoon begins across the entire nation.
This year’s southwest monsoon began on May 3 for southern atolls, with it having begun across central parts on May 4.
The factors for the onset of the southwest monsoon include:
Rain: 2.5 millimeters or more rainfall experienced in southern atolls after the end of May, and the situation continuing for two days or more.
Winds: winds gust between southwest and the west, hit at a speed of more than 10 nautical miles per hour, and this situation may last for two days or longer.
Authorities have advised the public to be cautious in light of the adverse conditions of the southwest monsoon.
The Maldives Police Service (MPS) has also urged the public to take safety precautions while traveling.
According to the police, due to the rough weather conditions and rough seas predicted during these days, and the Maldives Meteorological Department having issued a number of alerts in some parts of the country, it is necessary to ensure safety and security while travelling and pay special attention to the weather.
As such, the authority has urged to ensure the safety of sea vessels in accordance with the maritime laws and regulations, to ensure that the vessels have the full range of communications and life jackets and ensure whether they are in a usable condition.
Seafarers and crew onboard vessels have also been urged to not overburden a vessel’s accommodation capacity, when carrying people or goods.
Stating the ensuring the safety and security of the vessels should also be taken care of by those operating vessels, the police has also urged caution from the people while operating vessel on land during rain showers.
As such, vehicle operators are urged to keep the speed of the vehicle at a controlled level during strong winds and to use the vehicle's headlights while driving during the rainy season.
Vehicle operators are also urged to pay special heed to pedestrians while operating vehicles during rain showers, on flooded roads.
The National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) has also urged caution from the public at a time water from the flooded streets of the capital and some islands, have been seeping into homes and damaging property.
NDMA cited the Maldives Metrological Service (MMS) having revealed that strong winds are expected especially in the southern and central parts of the country, with strong seas, heavy rainfall and high tides causing swell surges in some islands as well.
The people have been pushed to prepare for floods and take precautionary measures to ensure water does not seep into their homes.
Some of these precautionary steps include stacking sandbags at the entrance of the house, shifting goods prone to damage to higher places where water cannot reach, moving things that cannot be moved to high-rises to places where the water cannot reach.
Further, if the roof of the house is anticipated to be torn off due to strong winds, people have been urged to fix their roofs in such a way that it will not get torn off during strong winds.
The NDMA has also asked seafarers to be careful while traveling, keeping the weather in mind and ensuring proper safety and communication before embarking on a journey.
The authority has also stressed the importance of island communities being aware of these matters.
Maldives experiences heavy rain showers and adverse weather conditions during the southwest monsoon as well as the northeast monsoon. Extensive periods of strong winds and adverse weather conditions are usually experienced mostly during the southwest monsoon.
Such adverse weather conditions have been causing trees to uproot, roofs to tear off homes and trees as well as debris falling onto houses over the years. The squally weather during monsoon also causes damage to crop in some islands and presents challenges for seafarers and fishermen as well. Some islands have been experiencing swell waves surges during high tides as well. Regions across the entire island nation also experience ankle-deep flooding due to heavy rainfall.
At a time authorities have urged caution from the severe effects of the southwest monsoon, a cargo boat ‘Savaaree’, sank enroute Vaavu atoll from Malé City with six people onboard.
The people onboard the sunken vessel were rescued by authorities.
According to MMS, scattered showers are expected to prevail over northern atolls throughout the weekend, with heavy rainfall and thunderstorms expected over central and southern atolls for the next two days.
Several alerts have been issued due to adverse weather conditions across the Maldives, over the past few days.
As such, a white alert was issued from Kaafu atoll to Addu City after predicting heavy rain and thunderstorms with gusts of 45 miles per hour in the region, from 7pm Thursday to 1am, Friday.
A yellow alert followed not long after, issued from Raa atoll to Gaaf Dhaal atoll after strong winds of 25 – 30 miles per hour and gusts of 50 miles per hour with very rough seas were expected across the region from 8:30pm Thursday to 12:30am on Friday.