Schools shut in Sri Lanka as Mandous cyclonic storm raises pollution

High air pollution levels forced the closure of schools across Sri Lanka on Friday as a Mandous cyclonic storm swept by its coast, bringing heavy rain and gusts. It is expected to make landfall on India’s southeast coast at around midnight.

As cyclone “Mandous” neared, authorities despatched around 400 disaster relief workers to the state of Tamil Nadu and advised residents to stock up on necessities and get ready to evacuate to shelters.

As the cyclone drew pollution from neighbouring India, the sky in Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial capital, and other cities darkened and occasionally rained. As a result, health officials advised the elderly and young to stay inside.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) said ‘Mandous’ has weakened from an earlier severe category, but warned that a storm surge of about 0.5 metre above the high tide was likely to inundate low-lying coastal areas of northern Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry when the cyclone makes landfall.

IMD warned that coastal populations were likely to have damage to thatched, mud dwellings, power and communication lines, and other infrastructure due to the heavy to extremely heavy rainfall that was anticipated in those areas as well as further north along the beaches of Andhra Pradesh state.

As the cyclone moves away from Sri Lanka, the air quality there is likely to improve during Friday and Saturday, the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO) said in a statement.

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