Tuesday, 14 December 2021

STORMS TO BATTER ZIMBABWE

LOCALISED heavy rains characterised by violent storms and strong winds are expected in some parts of the country for six consecutive days ending Monday next week.

The thunderstorms started yesterday and the Meteorological Service Department (MSD) warned that the rains will intensify during the course of this week and may lead to flash floods.

Some parts of the country started to receive rainfall over the weekend following a long dry spell that had been recorded in the past few weeks. The dry spell has seen crops suffering from moisture distress.

MSD on Monday said despite the country recording a prolonged dry spell, it is still expected to receive normal to above normal rainfall as was predicted before the commencement of the rainy season.

Yesterday, the weather forecaster said moisture drifting into the country from Botswana will cause violent storms in most parts of the country.

“Moisture is drifting into the country from Botswana through Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South Provinces.

This coupled with the high temperatures over much of the country should result in thunderstorms from Tuesday afternoon, 14 December 2021.

“These storms may be violent (coupled with strong winds, lightning, hail, and heavy rains in some places).

This should be enhanced on Friday 17 December as more moisture drifts into the country from the south-east,” read the MSD statement.

It said localised rainfall in excess of 30mm and hailstorms will be experienced in some areas while flash floods were a possibility.

MSD warned that due to strong winds, rooftops can be blown off, debris loosened and trees damaged. It urged members of the public to avoid travelling in open trucks, being in the fields, or hiding under trees when it is raining.

“If you urgently need to travel, take caution on the roads as roads may be slippery and contain hidden dangers covered by water, including fallen trees, utility poles, and live wires,” read the MSD statement.

Cabinet last month adopted the Proposed Emergency Preparedness Plan for the 2021-2022 Rainfall Season.

This saw Government mobilising funds and activating disaster response mechanisms to attend to rain-related hazards during the 2021-2022 rainy season.

Over the past few years, the country has recorded an increase in natural disasters during the rainy season which in some instances have resulted in the loss of lives.

In 2019, the country was hit by Cyclone Idai which resulted in the death of 1 200 people and destroyed infrastructure worth millions of dollars.

Several institutions and homes have had their infrastructure damaged by the rains during this summer season and the Civil Protection Unit recently revealed that it requires approximately US$100 million to attend to all rain-related disasters. Chronicle

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