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Met predicts normal rainfall

The Department of Climate Change and Metrological Services (Met) has predicted in its prospects for the 2016/2017 rainfall season that the greater part of the country will receive generally normal to above normal rainfall.

However, the department has not ruled out some chances of flooding and dry spells that are likely to occur in some areas during the same season.

Director of Met, Jolamu Nkhokwe, disclosed this yesterday in Blantyre when he was briefing reporters on the rainfall outlook for the 2016/2017.

Nkhokwe said based on observations and analyses in Malawi, with further additional inputs from consensus forecast from the climate experts meeting that took place in Harare, Zimbabwe, many areas of the country will experience good rainfall.

“During the October to December 2016, the greater part of the southern half of the country is expected to have normal to above normal rainfall amounts while the greater part of the northern half will have normal to below normal. During the period January to March 2017, the greater part of the country is expected to experience normal to above normal rainfall amounts and overall the greater part of the country is going to experience normal to above normal rainfall amounts during October 2016 to March 2017,” Nkhokwe said.

Unlike, the previous season’s rainfall system that was influenced by the El-Nino phenomenon, this season the rainfall system will be influenced by a weak La Nina that has already started developing over the Eastern Central Equatorial Pacific Ocean and is expected to persist up to early 2017.

According to Nkhokwe, in the recent years, the rainfall season which were affected by a weak La Nina phenomenon of almost similar strength like the 2016/17 rainfall season are those of 1983 to 1984 and 2005-2006.

“Climatic analyses on these weak La Nina years show that the country experienced normal cumulative rainfall amounts. However, a greater part of the southern half of the country experienced above normal rainfall amounts while some parts in the northern half experienced below normal rainfall amounts,” he said.

Commenting on the statement, Spokesperson for Ministry of Agriculture, Irrigation and Water Development, Halmiton Chimala, said the prospects for the 2016/ 2017 rainfall season will not affect crop production in any way.

Chimala said Malawians should not despair as it is going to be normal year production.

“We understand there will be floods and dry spell here and there but this will not affect food sufficiency. Our experts are already liaising with the technocrats in the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological to ensure that the country is food secure through the season regardless of the La Nina phenomenon,” stated Chimala.

Department of Disaster Management Affairs Communications Officer, Jeremiah Mphande, was reluctant to comment much on how prepared is their department in terms of the consequences, saying they have not officially received the statement.

“I have heard about the report but we have not yet received it. When it reaches us officially we submit it to the national committee which then discusses on the measures to be taken,” explained Mphande.

During the 2015 to 2016, the rainfall season for the country was influenced by a strong El-Nino that delayed the onset of the rains and the amounts were also erratic especially in the southern half.

Last year, the country experienced late rainfalls which were characterised by floods in some parts of the country.

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