Andile Tshuma, Chronicle Reporter
THE Meteorological Services Department has urged the public to brace for at least two more days of biting cold and rain.
Temperatures dropped from Sunday evening across the Southern region with Bulawayo recording a maximum of 13 degrees Celsius yesterday afternoon.
In a telephone interview yesterday the forecaster on duty, Mr Ebedia Hodera, said the extreme cold spell experienced over recent weeks had not broken records in the region as the coldest temperatures experienced in the country were minus four degrees in Gweru in 1975 and 0,6 degrees Celsius for Bulawayo in 1975.
He said the cold weather was set to continue today and tomorrow with temperatures expected to warm up on Thursday.
“The Meteorological Services Department wishes to advise the public that the cold spell is set to continue and temperatures are expected to rise on Thursday as clouds are expected to break,” said Mr Hodera.
In a statement, the Met Dept said the cold spell was due to pressure surges from the south east coast in South Africa pushing moist airflow into the country.
“Pressure surges off the south east coast of South Africa are pushing a cold and moist south-easterly airflow into Zimbabwe causing a sharp drop of daytime temperatures to below 15 degrees Celsius,” read the statement.
The department said the public should expect cold overcast weather accompanied by rain.
“Very cold windy and cloudy conditions accompanied by light rain are expected over Bulawayo Metropolitan province, Matabeleland South, Southern areas of the Midlands, (Zvishavane to Gweru) Masvingo and Manicaland provinces,” said the department.
The MSD said temperatures were expected to gradually rise from Thursday.
“The department will continue monitoring the conditions and update the public accordingly. We are also available on Twitter and Facebook,” read the statement.
Twelve people have died of common cold and influenza in the country this year while 9 962 cases of the diseases have been reported in one week countrywide.
According to the recent weekly surveillance report from the Ministry of Health and Child, Masvingo and Midlands provinces recorded the highest number of cases.
“The cumulative figures for common cold and influenza are 792 447 cases and 12 deaths since the beginning of the year. A total of 9 962 suspected common cold and influenza cases were reported and no deaths were recorded during the week ending 24 June 2018,” read the report.
The highest numbers of cases were reported in Masvingo which had 980 cases and Midlands which had 910 cases.
“We continue to encourage members of the public to wear warm clothing. People with influenza often suffer from fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue,” said the Ministry.