Met Office forecasts localised heavier rains
Some areas are expected to receive localised heavier rainfall in excess of 30 millimetres as farmers in most areas are now in panic due to erratic rains. According to the Meteorological Services Department, Matabeleland North, north of Midlands, Harare, Mashonaland provinces, Manicaland and Masvingo, it is forecast that it should be cloudy and warm with scattered afternoon and evening thunderstorms.
“Localised heavier falls (in excess of 30mm) may occur along the central watershed as well as the eastern highlands of Manicaland Province. These thunderstorms may be violent with lightning, damaging winds and hail. Accordingly, avoid open spaces and sheltering under isolated trees,” said the MSD.
Matabeleland South, Bulawayo and south of Midlands are expected to be mostly sunny and warm with some scattered clouds.
“Isolated afternoon showers, thundery in places cannot be ruled out,” said the MSD.
Meanwhile, farmers in some parts of country are worried as their crops are now showing signs of moisture stress while others have failed to plant because of the dry weather conditions.
In some areas, farmers are already battling with pests that are promoted by the continuous dry weather conditions.
According to the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) December outlook, below normal cumulative rainfall has been received across the country since the start of the 2017/18 rainfall season in October and November.
“The worst affected province is Mashonaland West, one of the highest surplus-producing areas in the country. Planted area is lower than typical in most areas and agricultural activity is below-normal as well,” read the report.
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president, Mr Wonder Chabikwa yesterday said the situation was dire in some areas, particularly the northern parts of Manicaland.
“We have received erratic rains and they are not favourable for crop production. In some areas, we still have crops that were planted, but have not yet germinated, especially in Zvimba, Chegutu, Mazowe and Makonde. We hope we will receive meaningful rainfall that can take us through to the end of March in quantity and distribution,” he said.
MSD head of forecasting services, Mr Tich Zinyemba confirmed that the rains have been erratic.
He said the MSD was carrying out cloud seeding, but this was only possible if the clouds were conducive for rainfall.
BY Elita Chikwati