'Poor rain season for Zim'

HARARE - Zimbabwe is likely to experience a short and poor rain season that will last only three months, the Meteorological Services Department has said.

John Mupuro, a forecaster with the department, told a media briefing yesterday that the country will experience rains between December and February due to El Nino effects likely to stretch to April.

“There is a high likelihood of a late start to the season (and) a short rainfall season... across the country. Hence, there must be an option for small grains, short season variety and staggering of plants would be encouraged,” he said, adding the current problem “was the worst since December 1997 and most Sadc countries were feeling its devastating effects”.

El Nino is a climatic condition and pattern, which occurs above the Pacific Ocean every five years and is responsible for extreme weather conditions such as droughts, and floods in many regions across the world.

As a result of the extreme weather conditions that may also cause below-average rainfall, Mupuro said the season could be marked by heavy downpours and prolonged dry spells.

Another forecaster Tich Zinyemba said the changing weather patterns have already claimed lives in Plumtree where two people died in a hailstorm.

The seasoned weatherman also warned Zimbabwe may experience high temperatures by the weekend, a consistent pattern over the past two weeks.

“This phenomenon... can be characterised by hailstorms... flash-floods in some parts of the country,” he said.

As such, the forecasted poor rains would necessitate cloud seeding by the Meteorological Department, external relations manager Elliot Bungare said.

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