Met department warns of prolonged dry spell

Auxilia Katongomara Chronicle Reporter
THE prevailing dry spell is projected to continue with temperatures set to clock a record 43 Degrees Celsius in some areas, the Meteorological Services Department has warned.

The erratic rainfall pattern has dampened hopes for a good 2015/16 harvest.

Crops are wilting due to moisture stress while many communities, mainly in the southern parts of the country have not yet planted.

Head of Public Weather Services, Tich Zinyemba yesterday said there will be little and isolated rainfall activity all over the country. He said normally the mid-summer dry weather lasts until the second week of January, but is likely to last longer this year.

“It should also be dry and hot. However, residual moisture, coupled with high daytime temperatures, may cause some light rain-showers and isolated thunderstorms mainly in Matabeleland North, Mashonaland provinces and parts of north Manicaland Province.”

He said the Met Department had not yet commenced the cloud seeding programme as they were still awaiting the release of funds from the Ministry of Finance.

Zinyemba said high temperatures were projected to soar to about 43 Degrees Celsius in some parts of the country.

“During this period, it’s also forecasted that from 6 to 8 January 2016, daytime temperatures are predicted to be much higher (averaging between 36°C and 43°C) in parts of Masvingo Province, Matabeleland North Province, Matabeleland South Provinces as well as parts of Mashonaland Central Province,” said Zinyemba.

He said direct exposure to sunlight is strongly discouraged as the high temperatures can cause heat stress and discomfort on people, crops and livestock.

Zimbabwe’s rainfall season normally starts in October in the southern and western areas and in November in the northern provinces.

A regional weather outlook issued by the Sadc Climate Services Centre last year indicated that most mainland Sadc countries, including Zimbabwe, would receive normal to below normal rainfall.

Experts have since implored the government to ensure that seed for drought resistant crops and short season varieties is available to mitigate the effects of drought.

They also said the 2015-16 rainfall outlook had several implications on agriculture, food security, health, and energy and disaster risk reduction.

Livestock in some parts of the country is already affected by the delay in the rains with most streams and rivers drying up and pastures depleted.

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