Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
People in different parts of the country have been warned to brace for floods and storms this week as the country expects heavy rains.
The Civil Protection Unit yesterday urged people to listen to daily weather warnings and take heed of advice from the unit to save lives and property.
The Meteorological Services Department, Central Forecasting Office said the country could experience heavy rains, with a bias towards Mashonaland provinces, Matabeleland North, most of Midlands and Manicaland for the period.
A series of very active low pressure systems are expected to be anchored over Zimbabwe and these should bring widespread rain with falls in excess of 50 millimetres, said the CFO. According to the CFO, indications are that people in the mentioned areas should brace for sharp downpours, damaging winds, lightning, hail and flash flooding.
“Uprooting of trees and damage to infrastructure cannot be ruled out with this type of rainfall intensity,” said the office. “Traditionally, flood-prone areas will be more vulnerable and at heightened risk.”
CPU director Mr Madzudzo Pawadyira yesterday said the department was on high alert and encouraged the public to take note of the advice to reduce loss of lives and damage to property.
“People should listen to the warnings and take heed of what we say,” he said. “There is no any other remedy. People usually listen to the weather updates and look at the local weather and from the history of the area they may decide to institute self-relocation. They may move to an area of higher ground, but they should continue to monitor the situation.”
Mr Pawadyira said the CPU was having problems with people who took chances with life.
Last month, eight people died when a car they were travelling in was swept away while crossing a flooded bridge near Kadoma after the driver did not take heed from other motorists who were patiently waiting for the river to subside.
The Met department has advised the general public not to cross flooded rivers and low-lying bridges. “Rivers can flood due to rains that have fallen upstream. Therefore, people must exercise caution when approaching low-lying bridges.
“Do not take shelter under trees during thunderstorms as there is enhanced risk of being struck by lightning. People should refrain from parking vehicles under big and old trees as these may fall,” the department said.
The department warned of danger of electricity poles falling over, thus increasing the risk of electrocution when cables are handed carelessly.
Malawi and Mozambique have been hit by devastating floods in recent weeks.