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‘Brace for extreme weather’

Bereng Mpaki

CLIMATE change will exacerbate incidents of extreme weather conditions in the upcoming summer season starting next month and ending in March 2021, the Ministry of Energy and Meteorology has said.

The country must therefore, improve its planning and economic activities to bolster its resilience against possible extreme weather events that are expected in the upcoming summer season.

The ministry on Wednesday released its 2020/21 climate outlook which says there will be an acceleration of incidents of strong winds, lightning, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and hailstorms during the summer period.

“Occurrences of strong winds, lightning, severe thunderstorms, flash floods and hailstorms, are common weather phenomena in summer,” a statement from the ministry said.

“Climate change is expected to exacerbate these conditions resulting in increased frequency and intensity of extreme weather events.

“This calls for better planning and alignment of productive economic activities with the prevailing and expected weather conditions. The Ministry of Energy and Meteorology will continuously advise the nation on impending weather hazards which might pose risks to social welfare and property safety.”

The ministry said the 2020/21 rainy season is expected to begin at the end of October to mid-November with normal to above normal rainfalls expected.

 

“The 2020/21 rainfall season is likely to be influenced by weak la nina (cooling in the Pacific Ocean) which is associated with enhanced precipitation occurrence over the country.

“The country is expected to receive normal rains for the period October 2020 to March 2021 with a likelihood of above normal rainfall.  However, dry episodes are still expected between the good rains. The onset of rains for this rainy season is anticipated to be towards the end of October 2020 in the highlands while mid November 2020 in the lowlands.”

Normal temperatures are anticipated over the summer period with high chances of rising above average.

The ministry said the country had not yet fully recovered from the 2015/16 El Nino and last summer’s good but late rains doing little to support food production.

“Good rains were received from December 2019 to April 2020 where most areas received normal to above normal rainfall. These rains ended the then prevailing dry conditions but were not very useful for summer cropping as they came quite late into the cropping season.

“Dry conditions were experienced during the months of May to August 2020 where little to no rainfall was reported countrywide. Several dry cold fronts traversed over the country with insignificant snowfall and rainfall.

“The 2019/20 season mostly recorded above normal temperatures throughout the country with occasional cold spells and heatwaves during the cropping season. These high temperatures coupled with windy conditions resulted into high rate of moisture loss,” the ministry said.

 

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