The month of April is typically the warmest in Sri Lanka as the sun is positioned directly over the Indian Ocean island. Coupled with high humidity, the high temperatures make people uncomfortable and sweaty. This year, the Department of Meteorology went so far as to issue heat warnings for several districts, cautioning residents against exposure to high heat that can have harmful health implications.
As neighboring South Asian countries are scorched by a severe heat wave, the unusually high temperature rise is impacting people and their daily lives, a change that causes worry among locals about climate risk.
“As the temperature has risen to about 36 degrees Celsius [96.8 degrees Fahrenheit], Sri Lanka has experienced about 3 degrees Celsius [5.4 degrees Fahrenheit] increase of the daily maximum temperature during the recent heat stress period,” says Shiromani Jayawardena, the deputy director of the Department of Meteorology. Exposure to excessive heat along with high humidity may prove stressful to the body and in extreme cases can even kill, so the department assesses the situation and issues warnings to the public to remain cautious, Jayawardena said.