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5-day destructive rains forecast

by Staff reporter
22 Nov 2021 at 05:54hrs | Views
SOME parts of the country could be hit by storms that can blow off roofs and uproot trees for five consecutive days up to Wednesday, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) warned yesterday.

Government has since activated disaster response teams in anticipation of adverse weather conditions during the 2021/22 rain season.

Over the past few years, the country has recorded an increase in natural disasters during the rain season which in some instances have resulted in loss of lives.

Cabinet two weeks ago, adopted the Proposed Emergency Preparedness Plan for the 2021-2022 Rainfall Season presented by Local Government and Public Works Minister July Moyo.

Government has allocated funds and activated Civil Protection Unit to conduct education awareness campaigns on rain-related hazards.

Last month, Manama Mission Hospital in Matabeleland South and several schools in Nkayi, Matabeleland North had their infrastructure destroyed following strong winds that have affected the environment. Government has since released funds to rehabilitate the hospital.

In a weather advisory issued yesterday, the MSD said:

"Moisture is drifting into the country from Botswana through Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South provinces. This coupled with the high temperatures over much of the country should result in thunderstorms which may be violent in some places (coupled with strong winds, lightning, hail and heavy rains in some places). This is normal for this time of the year, especially in a season which is expected to have normal to above normal rains," said MSD.

In light of the weather event, MSD warned of lightning and strong winds, localised heavy rains in excess of 30mm within 24 hours and hailstorms in some places.

The MSD said there are chances that the storms could blow off roofs, loosen debris and result in some trees falling due to strong winds.

It encouraged members of the public where necessary to stay indoors, avoid travelling in open trucks or working on the fields and or hiding under trees when it rains. "If you urgently need to travel, take caution on the roads as roads may be slippery, and contain hidden dangers covered by water, including fallen trees, utility poles and live wires," said MSD.

In an interview, MSD senior forecaster Mr James Ngoma said while the storms are expected across the country, Matabeleland region will receive just moderate rains.

"Areas such as Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South would just get moderate rains of about 10mm. In Midlands, Manicaland and Mashonaland provinces, that is where we are expecting heavy rains. Areas such as Gweru, Kadoma, Marondera, Harare we are expecting more rains. The rains we are going to receive are going to be significant but not alarming," said Mr Ngoma.

"While strong winds are possible everywhere, areas that are going to receive more rains are the ones that are expected to receive stronger winds than the rest of the country. However, thunderstorms can happen anywhere and it's better to be indoors when it roars. And with the issue of lightning, members of the public should understand that lightning can strike even when there are no clouds in the vicinity but as long as you can see lightning and cannot count up to 30 without hearing the thunder roaring you are at risk of being struck."

He said going forward the country should expect improved rainfalls in line with projected normal to above normal rains.

"The rains we are receiving are good for those areas that are going to get 30mm plus. It means they can plant and by the time the rains go away there will be enough moisture to sustain their crops. Compared to last year, it's almost similar but as we get further into the month of November, we should expect more significant rains. The first quarter of the season ended on November 15 and we are now in the second quarter where we are expecting a significant improvement in the amounts of rainfall," he said.

In 2019, the country was hit by Cyclone Idai which resulted in the death of 1 200 people and destroyed infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

Source - The Chronicle