Rain­fall fore­cast by Novem­ber

The Sunday Mail (Zimbabwe) - - NEWS - Sun­day Mail Re­porter

AN UP­DATE on the 2018/2019 rainy sea­son, where nor­mal to be­low-nor­mal rains are fore­cast, is ex­pected to be avail­able by early next month. This will help project how the sum­mer crop­ping sea­son might pan out. Ex­perts say South­ern Africa could be plagued by the El Niño weather phe­nom­e­non, which will in­duce be­low-nor­mal rains.

Zim­babwe’s Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vice De­part­ment re­cently in­di­cated that it is dif­fi­cult to ei­ther ac­cu­rately fore­cast rain­fall dis­tri­bu­tion be­yond 14 days or to pre­dict how rain­fall will be dis­trib­uted through­out the sea­son in ad­vance.

“The cur­rent pro­jec­tions of the sea­son are for a nor­mal with a bias to be­low-nor­mal rain­fall sea­son. An up­date to this will, how­ever, be avail­able af­ter the 31st of Oc­to­ber 2018.

“It should be noted, how­ever, that the rain­fall dis­tri­bu­tion can­not be fore­cast with much ac­cu­racy be­yond 14 days. Hence, it is very dif­fi­cult to fore­cast how the rain­fall will be dis­trib­uted through­out the sea­son in ad­vance,” the MSD said in a state­ment to The Sun­day Mail.

The of­fi­cial sum­mer rain­fall sea­son for rain-fed agri­cul­tural pur­poses usu­ally span for a six-month pe­riod from the be­gin­ning of Oc­to­ber to April.

Ac­cord­ing to MSD, the start of the rainy sea­son is of­ten de­fined as “any day af­ter the 1st of Oc­to­ber that a place re­ceives 20mm or more in one or two days, pro­vided there is no dry spell of 10 or more in the next 30 days”.

In Mata­bele­land, Masvingo, Mid­lands and south­ern ar­eas of Man­i­ca­land, the sea­son usu­ally starts in Oc­to­ber.

In Mashona­land and north­ern Man­i­ca­land, the sea­son usu­ally be­gins mid-Novem­ber.

The MSD says based on the cur­rent record and if the cur­rent pro­jec­tions hold, south-western ar­eas such as Mata­bele­land are likely to have near record-break­ing tem­per­a­tures in Novem­ber.

Tra­di­tion­ally, high­est tem­per­a­tures in Zim­babwe are recorded in low-alti­tude ar­eas like Beit­bridge to the south and Kanyemba to the ex­treme north.

“It is, there­fore, im­por­tant for farm­ers and other de­ci­sion-mak­ers to take more no­tice of the sea­sonal weather out­looks as well as reg­u­lar weekly up­dates from the Me­te­o­ro­log­i­cal Ser­vices De­part­ment for them to main­stream weather in­for­ma­tion into their plan­ning and de­ci­sion-mak­ing pro­cesses,” said the MSD.

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