Peter Tanyanyiwa and Fungisayi Ndangariro
Heavy rains characterised by downpours and widespread flash floods are expected to hit most parts of the country until next Wednesday, the Meteorological Services Department said yesterday.The rains bring to an end the mid-season dry spell that was being experienced in most parts of the country for the past two weeks.
The department’s head of Public Weather Services, Mr Tich Zinyemba, said in a statement that some parts of Mashonaland and Manicaland provinces started receiving the heavy rains yesterday.
“These heavy rains are due to a band of disturbed weather that is expected to cover the country,” said Mr Zinyemba.
He said some areas had received rains in excess of 80 mm, with Mutoko getting 86mm, Nyanga (76mm), Mutare (42mm), Makoholi (35mm) and Chipinge (27mm).
Said Mr Zinyemba: “While noting that weather patterns may change abruptly, as of now, the indications are that there would be sharp downpours and widespread flash floods.”
He said the expected thunderstorms had the potential of large hail and damaging winds as temperatures have been high. Mr Zinyemba said all outdoor activities had to be planned with the weather in mind.
“Vehicles should not attempt to cross flooded low-lying bridges, while people should not attempt to cross streams and rivers which are flooded,” he said.
“It is advisable for people not to take shelter under trees during a thunderstorm as there is increased risk of being struck by lightning. There is danger of electricity poles falling over, thus increasing the risk of electrocution when the cables are handled carelessly.”
Zimbabwe normally experiences the mid-season dry spell in January. During the past years the dry spell has been severe lasting up to three weeks, resulting in large hectarages of crops being written off.
Weather experts have predicted a normal rainfall season this year.