Thandeka Moyo- Ndlovu, Chronicle Reporter
THE cold spell that was experienced during the past few days was caused by rainfall patterns in Botswana which came through Matabeleland and spread to different parts of the country.
Temperatures are, however, expected to rise a bit by the coming weekend before the onset of the winter season expected to begin in two weeks’ time.
The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) says the cold spell may continue in some parts of the country even before the onset of winter. The temperature changes may leave some members of the public at risk of developing flu and cold especially those who have asthma.
In an interview yesterday, MSD forecaster Mr James Ngoma said the lowest temperature was 15 degrees Celsius recorded in Gweru at the weekend.
He said the lowest for Bulawayo has been 17 degrees Celsius.
“It was cloudy and cold over the weekend but Tuesday and Wednesday are expected to be much warmer with mostly sunny conditions prevailing. The cold weather could have been a result of cloudy conditions experienced in Botswana which spread to the country and the fact that we have been having a significant rainfall in different areas,” said Mr Ngoma.
He said although sunny days may follow, some areas may experience showers next week especially in Matabeleland South and Masvingo provinces.
According to Mr Ngoma the rainfall received during the past weeks is going to contribute to lowering of temperatures due to the moisture it left on the ground.
He said most areas recorded an average of 20mm of rainfall during the past days while Murewa recorded 38mm.
“Temperature fluctuations between night and day may affect the health of vulnerable members of society such as young children, the elderly and ill persons. Please ensure that vulnerable members of society are kept warm during these wintry nights,” he said.
“Cold weather conditions negatively impact poultry animals and it is good to note that soil moisture was slightly increased due to almost countrywide light showers. Poultry producers should note that broilers are sensitive to temperature variations and therefore need to be checked regularly and adjustments made,” said Mr Ngoma.
He also said that while soil moisture has slightly reduced the occurrence of frost, farmers in frost-prone areas are encouraged to have frost preventative measures in place.
“Covid-19 is still a potential threat hence members of the public should stay safe, mask-up, get vaccinated as winter is coming,” added Mr Ngoma.
He said irrigation may need to be conducted where moisture stress is noted and there should be constant monitoring and regulation of the temperature within the fowl-run to ensure proper air circulation and avoid chicken suffocation.