Sri Lanka closes schools as cyclonic storm Mandous causes increased pollution.

In Colombo, Sri Lanka’s commercial metropolis, the sky became gloomy with occasional rain.

Schools were closed in Sri Lanka on Friday due to high levels of air pollution as a cyclonic storm swept by its coast, bringing strong winds and rain, and is expected to make landfall on India’s southeastern coast around midnight.

Authorities in Tamil Nadu state dispatched over 400 disaster assistance professionals and warned residents to stock up on basics and prepare to evacuate to shelters as Cyclone ‘Mandous’ approached.

As the storm drew pollution from neighbouring India, the sky became gloomy with occasional rain in Sri Lanka’s commercial hub Colombo and other towns, forcing health officials to urge youngsters and the elderly to stay indoors.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) stated ‘Mandous’ has been downgraded from a severe category, but warned that when the cyclone makes landfall, a storm surge of roughly 0.5 metre over high tide is anticipated to inundate low-lying coastal parts of northern Tamil Nadu and neighbouring Puducherry.

IMD predicted strong to extremely heavy rains in such regions, as well as farther north along the coasts of Andhra Pradesh state, and warned that coastal residents would likely suffer damage to thatched and mud buildings, as well as electricity and communication cables.

As the storm moves away from Sri Lanka, air quality is expected to improve on Friday and Saturday, according to the National Building Research Organisation (NBRO).