Source: 2019/20 rainfall forecast out Wednesday | The Herald 02 SEP, 2019
Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
Weather experts will today meet in Harare for the National Outlook Climate Forum (Narcof) workshop with the Meteorological Services Department expected to release the 2019/2020 national rainfall forecast on Wednesday. The 2019/20 National Climate Outlook Forum comes after SADC member states met last week in Angola for the 2019/20 seasonal climate outlook for the region.
The seasonal rainfall forecast will inform the nation about the rainfall expected in different agro-ecological regions and guide farmers to make informed decisions that include choice and varieties of crops.
MSD senior forecaster Mr Tich Zinyemba yesterday confirmed that the seasonal rainfall forecast will be presented on Wednesday.
“The Meteorological Services Department will be presenting the 2019/2020 rainfall season outlook on Wednesday. This comes on the back of a SADC regional outlook Climate Outlook Forum that was held in Angola.
“From the Narcof, the country is expected to be advised on the potential performance of the upcoming season in terms of cumulative rainfall amounts enabling farmers and other stakeholders to plan ahead,” he said.
The forecast is also useful for disaster preparedness and management, agriculture and food security, water and energy and health sectors, among others.
Farmers have already begun preparing for the 2019 summer cropping season with others having already bought inputs such as seed and fertilisers.
Some farmers are waiting for the rainfall forecast to determine the ideal varieties to grow this season.
There are indications from the SADC rainfall forecast that the region is expecting normal rainfall.
Indications from the recent Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum are that during the period October to December, which is the main rainfall season over most of Southern Africa, including Zimbabwe and the bulk of SADC is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall for most of the period October to December (OND) 2019.
There are indications that northern Mozambique, southern Tanzania, northern Malawi, northernmost Zambia, the bulk of DRC, north-western half of Angola, northern Madagascar and Comoros could experience normal to below normal rainfall.
The January to March (JFM) 2020 period is expected to have normal to above normal rainfall for most parts of the region. However, the eastern half of Tanzania, eastern half of Botswana, westernmost parts of Namibia, bulk of South Africa, bulk of Mozambique, southern Malawi, eastern Lesotho, central Zambia, southernmost Madagascar, south-western most Angola, Eswatini and Zimbabwe are more likely to receive normal to below normal rainfall amounts.
MSD has always advised farmers to rely on the local rainfall forecasts.
Last year the country experienced erratic rains during the beginning of the rainfall season and was later affected by Cyclone Idai-induced floods that killed thousands and destroyed infrastructure.
The erratic rainfall also affected crop production with farmers expected to deliver 852 000 tonnes of maize this season.