Elita Chikwati Senior Agriculture Reporter
The Meteorological Services Department has warned of localised heavy rains in excess of 30 millimetres from yesterday to Wednesday next week along the main watershed and the Eastern Highlands, with lightning, strong winds and hailstorms expected in some areas.
According to the department, moisture is drifting into the country from Botswana through Matabeleland North and Matabeleland South.
“This, coupled with the high temperatures over much of the country, should result in thunderstorms which may be violent in places and be coupled with strong winds, lightning, hail and heavy rains in some places,” said the Met Department in a weather advisory.
“This is normal for this time of the year, especially in a season which is expected to have normal to above normal rains.”
Strong winds can blow of roofs, blow around loose debris and cause trees to fall.
“Avoid travelling in open trucks, being in the open field or under trees,” the department said. “If you urgently need to travel, take caution on the roads, as roads may be slippery, and contain hidden dangers covered by water, including fallen trees, utility poles and live wires.”
The public has been urged to follow weather updates or relevant information.
Meanwhile, farmers who planted early, but do not have irrigation are hopeful that the rains could help their crops that were starting to show signs of moisture stress.
Some of the farmers said they could be forced to replant if the high temperatures continued and their areas did not receive meaningful rains.
Zimbabwe Farmers Union, secretary general Mr Paul Zakariya, yesterday said although some farmers had planted, the area was so insignificant as many were still concentrating on land preparations.
Most farmers who have planted rely on irrigation.
“The percentage of farmers who have started planting is small as most areas have not received significant rains,” said Mr Zakariya. “Farmers with irrigation can always water their crops.
“We also expect rains in some parts of the country during the next week. Land preparation is taking the centre stage at the moment and there will not be any crisis due to the high temperatures.
“Actually, we need the heat so we can have rains.”
Zimbabwe Commercial Farmers Union president Dr Shadreck Makombe said some farmers had planted dry land tobacco and the crop had been affected by the high temperatures.
“Some of those who had planted early are thinking of replanting. Those who planted early expected the rainfall season to be exactly like last year, but it appears there are some fluctuations.”