Sadc experts forecast wet 2022–23 rainfall season for region Heavy rainfall

Sifelani Tsiko-Agric, Environment & Innovations Editor

Most parts of the Southern African Development Community (SADC) region are expected to receive normal to above-normal rainfall during the forthcoming 2022/23 cropping season, preliminary indications show.

Indications from the virtual Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF 26) meeting chaired by the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) show that the bulk of the SADC region is likely to receive normal to above-normal rainfall.

This is for the second consecutive year that climate experts are forecasting a wetter spell for the region.

The positive climate outlook is attributed to an expected La Nina episode during the coming season.

La Nina conditions are triggered by the cooling of temperature in the Pacific Ocean and are usually associated with heavy rains and flooding in southern Africa.

The forecast is good news for the region with some parts that were hit by droughts last season.

Wetter conditions are positive for southern Africa’s rain-fed agricultural activities and water reservoirs.

But excessive rainfall has caused widespread flooding in the past resulting in loss of lives, and damage to crops and infrastructure.

In the 2021-2022 rainfall season, a total of 6 tropical cyclones battered several SADC countries, including Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, South Africa, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The tropical storms and cyclones brought heavy rains and strong winds, causing significant flooding and landslides, and resulting in fatalities, displacements, destruction of infrastructure and flooding.

The season also experienced unprecedented floods in some parts of South Africa.

However, the 2021-2022 rainfall season in the region was largely marked by above-average rains in some regions and poor and erratic rainfall in others.

The late onset and early off-set of rainfall, rising input costs, excessive rainfall in some parts and drought in others had not bode well for the 2021-2022 cropping season in the region.

Rainfall received during the second last half of the season in January to April period came too late in the production season to save crops in most regions of the country.

Climate experts are expected to present the full statement for the 2022-2023 rainfall season later today.

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