via Rains to start Sunday says Met Dept | The Herald October 31, 2013
Widespread patchy rains and thunderstorms are expected across the country beginning this Sunday , the Meteorological Services Department has said.
MSD senior forecaster Mr Jonathan Chifuna today said a cloud system has started affecting the Matabeleland Provinces and Bulawayo while they should start affecting the whole country by end of next week.
“Therefore, widespread patchy rain and thunderstorm activity should be expected across the country up to the end of the week
“Rains of up to 30mm should be realised in some areas especially Matabeleland South during this period,” he said.
Some areas started receiving significant rains especially in the Matabeleland provinces, Masvingo and south of Manicaland by end of September.
“Some of those places have been recording rainfall, which were separated by seven to 10 days.”
Notable rains were received on September 29 with Chipinge receiving 43mm, Mukandi 27 mm and on October 22, Gweru received 44mm with hail while Mutare received 22mm. Kwekwe received 27mm last Sunday.
Mr Chifuna urged farmers to consult local agriculture extension officers for any agricultural operations.
“Basing on the statistics, there is risk of replanting associated with planting with the first rains,” he said.
He said the official summer rainfall season in Zimbabwe for rain-fed agricultural purposes starts from the beginning of October to the first week of April of the following year, spanning approximately six months.
The dates vary from year to year but usually start in October in the southern regions of the country (Matabeleland, Masvingo, Midlands and south of Manicaland Provinces).
The onset for the rest of the country (Mashonaland and north of Manicaland Provinces) usually occurs in the middle of November.
Of late, the onset and the ending of these rains have been erratic from year to year to the changing climate.
Mr Chifuna said thunderstorms at this time of the year are usually very violent in terms of lightning, strong winds and hail.
The public is therefore advised to avoid open spaces; avoid high places and not walk in waterlogged areas.
The MSD is working with the Civil Protection Unit in raising awareness on the most susceptible regions and communities of the country.
The department has also partnered with one mobile telephone operator in providing weather forecasts and warnings on mobile phones in Shona, Ndebele and English.
Normal rainfall is expected during this season.