Zimbabwe put on flood alert

HARARE - Meteorological Services Department (Met Dept) has put the Civil Protection Unit, local authorities, the police, and other aid agencies on high alert as heavy rains are set to pound the country this week.

According to the Met Dept, from today until Tuesday, the country will experience rains of more than 50 millimetres (mm) within 24 hours.

In areas along high ground along the central and northern watershed and the Eastern highlands, rains in excess of 80mm in 24 hours are expected.    

“A cloud system currently affecting Botswana and South Africa is forecast to move into Zimbabwe from Friday. At the same time, a low pressure system in the middle levels of the atmosphere should also enter the country from Zambia. This combination is conducive for increasing and squeezing the moisture in the country, hence increased precipitation.

“Indications are that these rains may result in sharp downpours, damaging winds, lightning, hail and flash flooding. Uprooting of trees and damage to infrastructure cannot be ruled out with this type of rainfall intensity,” the Met Dept said.

It also noted that much of the Midlands province is expected to receive more than 90mm, which will likely result in waterlogging and flash floods as well.

Despite the rains that have been trickling in, the Zimbabwe National Water Authority (Zinwa) has said dam levels have remained low.

Zinwa public relations manager Marjorie Munyonga said: “Despite the rains, no inflows have been recorded in most of the country’s major dams with only a few dams recording slight increases in water levels. The national dam level average currently stands at 37,7 percent at a time when it is expected to be over 60 percent.”

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