Malawi risks more floods
The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned of heavy thunderstorms and downpours up to Wednesday, saying they might cause floods and with it, destruction in the areas that are prone to such natural disasters.
The warning comes nine months after heavy rains caused by Cyclone Idai which made a landfall in neighbouring Mozambique led to the death of 60 people, displacement of 800,000 people from 90,000 families and loss of property in most Southern Region districts such as Chikwawa, Zomba, Phalombe and Nsanje.
A statement issued by the department’s Director, Jolam Nkhokwe, says the thunderstorms and downpours are expected to start with the Northern, Central and Southern regions.
The statement says the downpours are a result of deep low pressure system embedded within the Inter Tropical Convergence Zone – I.T.C.Z over Malawi.
“As from Thursday, 2nd January to Sunday 5 January 2020, most areas in the South, Centre and North are expected to experience reduction in rainfall activities with isolated to scattered thunderstorms to be experienced due to warm airflow from the east,” the statement reads.
The statement says the expected heavy rainfall over lakeshore and central areas of the country are likely to cause floods in most flood-prone areas worsened by environmental degradation and poor drainage.
“As the expected, locally heavy rainfall episodes over lakeshore and central areas of the country are likely to cause flooding in most flood prone areas and rivers, worsened by siltation due to environmental degradation in combination with poor drainage system in cities and towns over the northern areas, the general public is advised to avoid crossing flooding areas and swelling rivers,” he says.
Nkhokwe advises the general public to continue taking preventive measures such as staying in doors, avoid playing on an open ground, seeking shelters under trees, whenever thunderstorms occur within their vicinity.
He also advises road users to slow down at the first sign of rain as the road surfaces become slippery due to the rains.
“The public is advised to be weather-ready and climate smart by religiously paying undivided attention to the continuously available daily and weekly weather updates from the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services to ensure seamless use of weather information on all timescales,” Nkhokwe says.
Rain has started falling in most areas of the country.
Earlier, Met warned that Malawi might be affected by Cyclone Belna which hit Mozambique saying it would have direct “effect on Malawi but it is expected to enhance rainfall activities central and northern areas of the country and suppress rainfall activities over the south.