Four people were killed and 23 are missing as storms with heavy rain and winds swept across parts of Sri Lanka on Thursday. The government’s disaster management cell has issued a bad weather warning for the next 12 hours

“The deep depression in the Arabian sea to the west of Sri Lanka is now 300 km to the west of Colombo. It is likely to develop into a cyclonic storm within the next few hours and move towards the west–northwest direction,” the disaster management cell said, while forecasting heavy rain and strong winds.

Of the 23 reported missing, 13 are fishermen. The navy has deployed a team to find them, AP reported.

Two Colombo-bound Sri Lankan Airlines flights from Chennai and Bangalore were diverted to the Mattala Airport in the deep south Hambantota region, and schools in the central, western and southern provinces were closed on Thursday, PTI reported.

Many houses were partially damaged, mainly in the central hill districts, and power supply has been hit.

The deaths come as the India Meteorological Department issued an “orange” alert on Thursday for the cyclonic storm Ockhi over the Comorin area. The storm is likely to reach closer to Lakshadweep by the evening, and will reach the severe status by Friday, India Meteorological Department said. It will cause heavy rain at most places in southern Tamil Nadu and Kerala over the next 24 hours and over Lakshadweep during the next 48 hours.