Warnings issued over cold weather

HARARE - The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned that the country — especially the central and southern regions — will continue to experience both biting cold and rainfall this week.

This comes as hospitals are reporting a surge in the number of young and old people being attended at health facilities suffering from severe flu, as temperatures continue to drop.

It also comes as health experts have warned of a stomach flu bug which is associated with the cold spells, which they say has been reported mostly in children under the age of five.

In its latest alert, the MSD warned people to brace for more chilly weather.

“The Meteorological Services Department wishes to advise the public that another episode of cold spell is expected to affect the central and southern regions of the country from Sunday 15 to Wednesday July 18.

“This is due to pressure surges off the south-east coast of South Africa pushing cold and moist south-easterly airflow into Zimbabwe, causing a sharp drop of daytime temperatures to below 15 degrees Celsius.

“Very cold, windy and cloudy conditions accompanied by light rain and drizzle are expected over Bulawayo Metropolitan, Matabeleland South, Southern Areas of Midlands (Zvishavane to Gweru), Masvingo and Manicaland provinces.

“Temperatures should gradually recover from Thursday onwards. The department will continue monitoring the conditions and update the public accordingly,” the MSD said.

The cold breeze comes after another cold front — characterised by cold, windy and cloudy conditions — hit Zimbabwe from July 3 to July 8.

The cold spells have seen farmers from different districts in the country reporting serious crop damage due to frost.

As a result, the prices of tomatoes and green vegetables have more than doubled over the past few weeks due to erratic supplies blamed on the cold weather.

Agronomists are currently encouraging farmers to practice greenhouse farming and to regularly water their crops at sunrise and sunset, to reduce the impact of frosting.

At least 12 people are reported to have died so far this year because of common cold and influenza in the country.

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