Source: Rains to continue: floods warning – Sunday News Jan 8, 2017
Tinomuda Chakanyuka, Sunday News Reporter
THE Meteorological Service Department has forecasted continued rainfall activity in most parts of the country in the coming week, with the exception of the southern region amid warnings of flash floods in low lying areas.
The southern parts of the country cover Matabeleland region, Midlands and Masvingo provinces which fall under Regions 4 and 5 usually characterised by low and erratic rainfall.
Meteorological Service Department head of public weather services, Mr Tich Zinyemba said the forecast period was between 5 and 13 January.
A map by National Centres for Environmental Prediction of the forecast accumulated precipitation totals for the forecast period shows that most parts of the country will receive above 50mm.
“The greater part of the country will continue to experience widespread rainfall throughout the forecast period with the exception of the southern parts where the precipitation totals will be diminished,” he said.
Although comparative data was not immediately available, Mr Zinyemba said the country had received more rains this year since the start of the rainy season, compared to the same period last year.
Mr Zinyemba said over 95 percent of the country had received normal rains since the start of the rainy season. He said most parts of the country had received more than 200mm of rainfall since 1 October last year, with parts of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces recording the highest accumulated rainfall above 400mm.
“The bulk of the country has received more than 200mm of rainfall to date, since the start of the season, with parts of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces having received the highest accumulated falls (amounts in excess of 400mm).
“The same figure also depicts the district of Beitbridge as having received the least accumulated falls, amounts less than100mm” he said.
Mr Zinyemba said in the past week areas such as Nyanga, Zaka, Zvishavane had received notable rainfall of above 150mm.
Nyanga recorded 199,9mm, Zaka 185,5mm, Zvishavane 167,2mm and Kadoma 165,1mm.
This comes as water levels at supply dams for major cities and towns around the country have remained critical. According to Bulawayo City Council latest data the city’s supply dams are at an average 32, 42 percent capacity as at Friday last week, up from 31 percent as at 20 December last year.
Total inflows into the city’s supply dams have improved from 15 million cubic metres as at 20 December to 22,8 million cubic metres as at Friday last week.
The MSD had predicted that the country will receive normal rainfall this rainy season and so far the forecasts have been correct.
Flash floods in some parts of the country have also been predicted in low lying areas with the MSD urging members of the public to remain alert for the extreme weather conditions.
“In case of heavy rain and flooding, if possible stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. Never drive on a road covered by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away. Be especially cautious at night when it’s harder to recognise flood dangers,” said Mr Zinyemba.
He also encouraged the public to regularly follow weather forecast on various media to keep themselves abreast with predicted weather patterns.
“In case of severe thunderstorms, if outdoors, seek shelter immediately but DO NOT seek shelter under a tree, under telephone and/or power lines, on hilltops or in isolated sheds. Furthermore, the public is urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information may also be accessed via the MSD twitter account @MSDZIM and facebook,” he said.
Last season the country received erratic rains, owing to the El Nino weather pattern, resulting in widespread drought.