High temperatures to persist

Samantha Chigogo Herald Correspondent
Most parts of Zimbabwe have been experiencing high temperatures of between 40 and 43 degrees Celsius this week and the situation will continue, the Meteorological Services Department has said.

The country is experiencing record high day time temperatures linked to the mid-summer dry spell which the department said will end soon.

“The decline in rainfall activity currently affecting Zimbabwe coincides with the mid-summer dry spell. Normally, the dry weather lasts until the second week of January,” said the MSD in a statement.

“During this period, it is also forecast that from January 6 to 8, 2016, daytime temperatures are predicted to be much higher averaging between 36 and 43 degrees Celsius in parts of Masvingo, Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South, as well as parts of Mashonaland Central.”

As of yesterday, most parts of the country recorded high temperatures.

Kariba had a high of 42 degrees Celsius, while Victoria Falls, Hwange, Buffalo Range, Gokwe and Masvingo ranged between 36 and 43 degrees Celsius.

The department urged the public to take cautionary measures, saying hot and dry conditions were conducive for runaway fires.

“This causes heat stress and discomfort on people, crops and livestock,” it said.

“As such, direct exposure to sunlight is strongly discouraged.”

Zimbabwe has been under a heat wave, with areas like Masvingo and West Nicholson recording extremely high temperatures in November that broke records set 60 years ago.

The areas recorded between 33 and 43 degrees Celsius when the highest temperatures documented in the past 60 years ranged between 35 and 41 degrees Celsius.

Drinking lots of fluids, avoiding prolonged stay in the sun, wearing wide-brimmed hats or using umbrellas were some of the precautions that people were recommended to take to cushion the heat wave.

The erratic rainfall pattern has shattered hopes for a good 2015 /16 farming season and farmers have been continuously urged to preserve and utilise water they have for better farming purposes.

Most parts of the country have reportedly lost livestock due to the extreme temperatures, with worries high in provinces like Masvingo that have since lost over 4 000 cattle.

Recently, the department said there would be little and isolated rainfall activity all over the country and fears were that the mid-summer dry weather was likely to last longer this year.

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