Rains to continue: Met Dept

HARARE - The Meteorological Services Department (Met Department) says wet conditions and thunderstorms are expected to continue until the end of this week.

Met Department weather forecaster John Mupuro said the rains — more pronounced in the country’s northern regions — would cause lower temperatures and trigger powerful thunderstorms.

“Matabeleland North, Northern Midlands, Harare, Mashonaland West and Mashonaland Central: cloudy conditions should persist in these areas with rain showers now and again,” Mupuro said.

“Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Southern Midlands, Masvingo, Mashonaland East and Manicaland these areas are forecast to be cloudy, mild at first, becoming less cloudy and warmer as the day progresses.”

He said dry conditions were expected to set across most areas by end of day tomorrow, adding that the heavy rains had become a norm during the month of March over the past few years.

Zimbabwe has seen sweltering temperatures, with some parts of Matabeleland posting record-breaking highs over 40 degrees Celsius.

The current dry spell has had an adverse effect on the agricultural sector and power generating capacity as water levels at Kariba Dam dwindle.

The country has already declared a drought emergency and appealed to international donors to offer aid promptly for relief operations, with the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organisation estimating that 1,5 million people — 16 percent of the population — are projected to be food insecure this year.

This represents a 164 percent increase in food insecurity compared to the previous season.

Zimbabwe was recently ranked number 18 in the top 20 countries most prone to hunger in 2016 by the International Food Policy Research Institute, in its Global Hunger Index (GHI).

The southern African country, which has been receiving unreliable rainfall in the past two years, will, according to the GHI, see “starvation-ranking hunger” in 2016.

Current weather patterns are being influenced by the El Nino phenomenon, a climatic pattern that occurs above the Pacific Ocean every five years and causes extreme weather conditions such as droughts and floods in many regions of the world.

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