The Meteorological Department warns the public to take precautions against lightning, as thunderstorms are forecast till the end of the month.
In the past four weeks, at least nine persons have been killed by lightning strikes in several areas including Anuradhapura, Avissawella, Beruwala, Badureliya and Haputale.
At least 50 deaths are recorded annually due to lightning. “Thunderstorms will prevail, mainly inland, at least till the end of April. Showers are expected in the Western and Southern coastal areas within about two weeks,” Meteorology Department Director S.H. Kariyawasam said.
Meanwhile, the Meteorology Department’s former Director, K.R. Abhayasingha, said that, as the sun is over Sri Lanka from April 5 to 14, the intensity of convection -- the vertical transport of atmospheric properties, especially upward -- can trigger thunder clouds.
Warm weather conditions could also be expected due to direct solar radiation from the sun, he said.
The Met Department warns that during thunderstorms, people and tall buildings become vulnerable to direct strikes due to a surge in the frequency of lightning flashes.
The department also advises people to have a sound earth return circuit for domestic electric installations and an equally safe lightning conductor for high-rise buildings.
During thunderstorms, it is advisable to avoid open spaces such as playgrounds and paddy fields and contact with metallic objects.
Disconnect all electrical equipment from the main power supply and limit their use as much as possible. The use of telephones should also be avoided, or at least limited if it is absolutely necessary.
Avoid seeking shelter under trees and on high ground.
Riding in open vehicles such as tractors, motorbikes and bicycles, and swimming should also be avoided. Lightning strikes are not always fatal, as it depends on the intensity of the voltage of the lightning flash. In case of a lightning strike, the victim should be given first aid and rushed to the nearest hospital immediately.