A strong wind blew down a 500 year-old Banyan tree in Kuribi of Haadhaalu Atoll, which was believed to be among the ancient relics remaining on the island.
Island Councilor Abdul Wahid told Minivan News that the tree fell down on Friday afternoon at around 3:00pm due to a strong wind that came with the rain clouds.
”The wind was blowing faster than 70 km/h,” said Wahid. ”Many coconut palm trees and other trees in the area fell down,”
Wahid said the tree was 125 feet long and was used as a landmark for travelers, as it was visible on the horizon before even the island appeared.
”It would have a diameter of 15 feet and a spread of 200 feet,” Wahid said.
He said that nobody was injured during the incident.
”It fell and hit the outer wall of Hukuru Miskiy [Friday mosque] and damaged the wall,” he said. ”Some other trees in the area were also pulled down.”
He said that the ancient Banyan tree would be put up for auction tomorrow.
An official at the Department of Meteorology (MET) said that its bureau on Hanimaadhoo in Haa Dhaalu Atoll has recorded that Hanimaadhoo experienced strong winds blowing at almost 90 km/h on Friday afternoon.
She said that the heavy rain and strong winds was due to the southwest monsoon, and added that no tornadoes had been recorded recently.
A solid two days of rain in Nolhivaram, also in Haa Dhaalu Atoll, has caused shin-high flooding.
Island Councilor Hussein Areef said the deluge lasted from Friday morning to 10pm last night, and had caused the water level to rise to to 1.5 feet in some areas.
Eight houses on the island had been flooded, he said, and some trees had died.
Areef said that schools were closed today due to the flood.
”Many trees on island also fell due to the rain and strong wind,” Areef said. ”We are trying to drain the water and we hope we can reopen the schools by tomorrow.”
”Now it is not raining, but the sky is overcasts and by 6:00pm it would start showering again,” he added.