Brace for heavy rains, thunderstorms: Met Dept

Elita Chikwati Senior Reporter
The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned of thunderstorms and heavy rains in excess of 60 millimetres in 48 hours in parts of the country from tomorrow to Monday.

Indications are that the rains may come in sharp downpours, damaging winds, lightning, hail and causing flash flooding in some areas. There are fears the winds could uproot trees and damage infrastructure.

In a statement yesterday, the MSD said widespread rains in excess of 60mm in 48 hours were forecast in most parts of the country, with south-eastern areas such as Manicaland, Masvingo, Matabeleland South and southern areas of the Midlands receiving the brunt of the heavy downpours by tomorrow.

“This should spread further northwards to cover even the entire Midlands, all Mashonaland provinces as well as Harare Metropolitan by Monday.

“The department is alerting responsible authorities such as the Department of Civil Protection, local authorities, police, rescue services including religious organisations, power utilities, and the general public, to be on the alert for the duration of this period,” said MSD in a statement.

People are advised where possible to stay indoors and off the road.

“The department will continue monitoring the conditions and update the public accordingly. The department also requests the public to provide feedback or information on disasters as it is not everywhere,” said the MSD.

The MSD forecasted a normal to below normal rainfall for the 2018 season.

The 2018-19 rainfall season is pointing towards an El Nino phenomenon.

El-Nino is associated with above average warming of the sea surface temperatures of the Pacific Ocean and in most years it comes with reduced rainfall activity over the subregion.

Most El Nino years in Zimbabwe have resulted in droughts.

According to weather experts, violent storms, prolonged dry spells, flash floods and tropical cyclones cannot be ruled out as the season progresses.

When a forecast of low rainfall is issued, farmers tend to retain their grain and not sell and this results in reduced deliveries to Grain Marketing Board (GMB) depots and speculative prices in deficit areas.