Sri Lanka Foundation

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Residents of this small town of Maithiripura in the Anuradhapura area said that, at around 5.30 pm. there had been a heavy downpour, when suddenly they saw tiny fish slithering in the rain water. W.B. Lakshman, a resident said that, while returning home he saw the unusual sight of fish floating on the road. He had first attributed this to the river overflowing inland along with its denizens. However, when he looked up he saw fish on the roofs of homes. He said they were small fresh water fish, silver in colour and three to four inches in length. Some were dead while others were ‘hopping’ around for survival. Lakshman added that there were plenty of fish in his compound too, and he was able to collect around 11 live fish in a container, which he later released into the wewa close to his house. A boy returning home after running an errand for his mother, said a couple of fish had fallen on the umbrella he was sheltering under. Maithripura is a tiny hamlet in the Anuradhapura area, surrounded by several rivers including Kuda Wewa, Walpola Wewa, Walaha Wewa and Maha Wewa. This is not the first time fish have rained in Sri Lanka. Last year villagers in the Chilaw District said that, during a heavy monsoonal shower, hundreds of fish had fallen on rooftops and their compounds. Director General, Lal Chandrapala said when strong swirling whirlwinds prevail over tanks and reservoirs, they suck up water along with the fish and living creatures in it. The sucked column of water is immediately frozen in the upper atmosphere and carried around by the clouds, to be ‘released’ in another area when the wind speed reduces. These clouds containing the sucked water, travel at speeds of around 10 kmph, carrying the water horizontally as far as two to three kilometers from its original place. Though the phenomenon happens commonly over shallow water, it can happen in coastal areas too. It is believed that stronger tornadoes are formed across large land masses where there are fluctuating temperatures and humidity. Former Medical Research Institute, Director, Dr Anil Samaranayake said there have been instances where the vortex of water had sucked in frogs and alligators into the air. “Even a cow was carried and dumped quickly,” he added.

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