Two northern islands hit by tidal swells

Two northern islands hit by tidal swells
December 28 15:26 2015

Tidal swells hit the northern islands of Komandoo in Shaviyani atoll and Holhudhoo in Noonu atoll last night, causing power outages and damages to a household. 

Ali Shaheem, vice president of the Komandoo island council, told The Maldives Independent that the swells have been continuing since 2:00am. One house was inundated by one and a half feet of water, he said, causing a power outage and forcing a family with three young children to temporarily move to another residence.

“Salt water has seeped 300 feet into the island from the northeast coast. The flood water is up to one foot and the sewage system is severely damaged,” Shaheem said.

Officers from the island’s police station worked with the council and members of the public to prevent flood water from seeping further inshore.

Ahmed Hamdhan Nasir from the Holhudhoo council said the tidal swells hit the island around 2:00am. The water seeped 100 feet through the island from the northeast side.

An electric cable had fallen during the flooding and blacked out electricity in homes near the beach, he said. No houses were damaged.

The police said that the flood water reached three homes, but was kept at bay with sandbags.

Hamdhan noted that tidal swells occur every year in December during the iruvai or northeastern monsoon.

A weather forecaster at the Maldives Meteorological Services, Khadeeja Nusra, told The Maldives Independent that the swells could continue tonight.

“These swells are normal for this time of the year. It’s very windy in the northern Maldives and central Maldives. However, during high tide time just like last night it could happen again. However, high tide is lower tonight than last night,” she explained.

In August, tidal swells hit Malé, causing severe flooding in the northeast side of the capital city. The area was inundated with more than two feet of water.

Tidal swells also caused minor flooding in five islands across the Maldives in late September. The flooding was caused by the perigean spring tide, which occurs when the full moon coincides with the perigee of the moon – the point when the moon is closest to the earth.

A lunar eclipse on September 28 also coincided with the perigee of the moon, lifting tides by an average of six inches.

The authorities at the time advised laying sandbags to protect powerhouses, health centres, and garbage dumps, and to take foodstuffs, valuables, and electronic equipment at beachfront homes and offices further inshore. The police and military were on alert to assist islands at risk of flooding.

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Photos by the police.