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'Normal-to-above-normal rains still expected'

by Staff reporter
13 Dec 2021 at 06:58hrs | Views
THE country will still receive normal to above normal rainfall this summer season despite most areas recording low rainfall so far.

The Meteorological Service Department (MSD) yesterday said while its seasonal projections points to normal-to-above normal rains, some areas in the country have received below normal rains, but that does not change the seasonal indicators.

It said the country should receive improved rainfall this week.

At the end of August, MSD projected that the 2021/22 rainy season will be characterised by good rains.

But the rains have not been coming in some parts of the country while the hot weather conditions have persisted.

The hot weather conditions have seen some crops suffering from moisture stress and some farmers who had already planted may be forced to replant.

Most farmers are anticipating a good farming season as was recorded in the previous season which saw the country recording a bumper harvest.

Government has already started distributing inputs to ensure that farmers adequately prepare for the planting season.

The normal-to-above normal seasonal projections, has seen Government activating its disaster response mechanism to avert rain related disasters.

The Civil Protection Unit (CPU) recently revealed that it requires US$100million to adequately prepare for rain related disasters.

MSD divided its season forecast into two halves: the October to December and the January and March period.

In an interview yesterday, MSD Agro Meteorologist in charge of season forecast Mr Benjamin Kwenda, said nothing has changed in terms of their seasonal forecast despite little rains being received so far.

"Our projections have not changed and at the moment we are monitoring the situation until at the end of the three months which marks the end of the first half of the season.

"We cannot do a review before the end of the three months.

"So, we will do an update at the end of the three months, but when we did an update last week, there was no change to the indicators," said Mr Kwenda.

"We still have indicators that we are likely to get heavy rains that are short. And we could be headed for some kind of disasters within the time that remains until the end of December. But at the moment we have not reached a point where we can say we can make that proper assessment of the three months because as long as we are still within the three months anything can happen."

He said the country in the 2019/20 recorded a similar situation where rains seemed not to come until it was hit by a devastating Cyclone Idai.

"A good example of what is happening is in the 2019/20 season when we experienced Cyclone Idai.

"We had a situation which is almost similar to what we are having now (little rains). But when the cyclone came it changed everything that we had initially predicted is what actually transpired.

"Because it happened in a four-day period it was disastrous.

"So, we still have the possibility of that happening. So, we will still track until we get to the end of the month and when we get to the end of the month, we will then make an assessment on what could have actually happened that changed everything else," he said.

Mr Kwenda said areas such as Beitbridge among other areas have received significant rains.

"Our projection was saying normal to above normal so we still have quite a number of areas that are still below normal and we have the areas that have the normal-to-above normal category. Basing on our last report, areas around Beitbridge have received slightly above normal rains, but we still have some places which have received below normal rains in contradiction to the season projections," said Mr Kwenda.

He said the country should expect improved rainfall this week and conditions are still favouring a good rainy season.

"That is very true. We are expecting some rains in some places from tomorrow (today) but in other areas from Tuesday going into the week.

"So, we expect them to be quite significant and from around Wednesday they should cover the whole country.

"We are definitely still expecting some significant rains.

"Even when we are looking at the other indicators, everything else has developed into conditions where we are expecting La-Nina conditions and La-Nina bring favourable conditions for us. So, we are still in a La-Nina season," he said.

Source - The Herald
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