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The wet spots

May 7, 2013, 7:04 a.m. » flood , statistics

As the monsoon broke over Sri Lanka last Friday it caused widespread traffic jams with several streets even being inundated. That was just a taste of things to come. On Monday, the first traffic alert for the day came in much earlier than usual; at 5:46 am. It was a report of flooding in Tudella, Ja - Ela. That set the tone for the day, when flooding spread to Negombo and other parts of the district. These floods didn't recede until late evening.

By the time the floods in Gampaha district had gone down, the heaviest rain clouds had positioned themselves over Colombo. All hell was about to break lose. And it did. The thunderstorm coincided with the rush hour. The result was that for most people their return home from work took twice or even three times longer than usual. Matters were made worse by an acute taxi and bus shortage. Monday evening was one of those rare occasions where traffic alerts were not very useful because literally every street in Colombo was packed solid. But then we were receiving and sending out far more flood alerts than traffic alerts.

Traffic Wet Spots

All in all 110 traffic/flood alerts were published that day, this is the most for a single day since we started the service last September. All the 'wet spots' have been plotted on a map (you can click through the image above for an interactive version with zoom and pan)

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