Tidal swells hit the eastern waterfront of Malé around 11:30pm last night, flooding the outer road and cafés and restaurants in the carnival area with water up to one and a half feet.
The swells continued periodically after 9:30am this morning while the Maldives Meteorological Service issued a yellow alert for central and southern atolls, warning of high waves (udha) between 12:30pm and 4:30pm today.
Assistant meteorologist at the met office, Abdul Hafiz, told Maldives Independent that the swells were not unusual and occur seasonally when the tides reach their peak.
Hafiz said Addu City has also been experiencing some strong winds this morning and advised precautionary measures. However, swells have not been reported so far in the southernmost atoll.
“We do not think these are forceful swells, so other than flooding, it probably will not cause destruction,” he said.
“This is not something to be concerned about. It happens every year. It just has not flooded in Malé before. However, people should be aware that this is happening, so as to take precautions.”
The military has meanwhile set up pumps near the Hulhumalé ferry terminal. A spokesperson for the Maldives National Defence Force (MNDF) told Maldives Independent that the military “cannot predict how long it will take to pump all the water as swells are continuing.”
Some seaside restaurants were closed this morning as furniture and machinery were damaged beyond repair by the flooding. Several vehicles parked at the area were also damaged by the ankle-deep waters.
Lemongrass Seaview restaurant’s supervisor, Ahmed Shafeeg, told Maldives Independent, that five wooden tables and ten chairs were damaged by the flooding last night.
The restaurant has closed temporarily, Shafeeq said.
Doplhin restaurant’s manager, Hassan Habeeb, said six chairs and four tables were broken due to the flooding.
Habeeb said the swells were not new for the Dophin restaurant.
“We experience this every year, but this time the flood poured into the road, which is why people think this is unusual. Last year, the swells came in September, this year it came a month earlier, this is due to climate change.” he suggested.
A man was meanwhile injured in a lightening strike at sea near Malé yesterday amidst heavy showers and thunderstorms across the country.