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Sadc weather experts to meet over forecast

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Meteorological  and Climate Change experts from the countries in the Southern Africa Development Community (Sadc) region are to meet in Zimbabwe this month to discuss the upcoming weather trends which are expected to be characterised by excess rains due La Niña phenomenon.

Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services Executive Director, Joram Nkhokwe, said this in response to a question on the country’s upcoming season forecast.

La Niña results in wetter-than-normal conditions in southern Africa from December to February, and drier-than-normal conditions over equatorial East Africa over the same period.

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La Niña, which originates from Spanish and means girl child in English, is the direct opposite of El Niño event of the past year which has left areas in the southern part of Africa, including Malawi, in severe drought.

In countries such as Malawi, La Niña will come with a lot of rains that will result in flooding in some disaster-prone areas such as Nsanje and Chikwawa.

Nkhokwe confirmed that different models are indicating that southern Africa will experience La Niña.

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However, Nkhokwe was quick to say the department will release the national season weather forecast statement in September after the Sadc meeting.

He also said there is need for the country to consider the impact of other water bodies that surround Malawi instead of concentrating on Pacific Ocean only whose water cooling is the one that brings La Niña.

“We normally release our season weather forecast report in September. And before we do that, weather experts in Sadc will meet to discuss similar issues and after that meeting, which will start from August 15 to August 27 in Harare, we will be able to release the report and inform people appropriately,” Nkhokwe said.

He said the meeting will also have American and European climate experts whose forecasts will also be used to come up with Sadc season forecast.

The impact of last year’s El Niño-induced drought continues to be felt as an increased number of households across the region are facing significant food and livelihood protection gaps.

Significant number of households in affected parts of Zimbabwe, Malawi, Mozambique, Madagascar, Lesotho, and Swaziland continue to experience food crisis and stressed outcomes.

According to Food Security Outlook body, Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet), between October this year and January next year, the food outcomes are expected to deteriorate even further as food prices peak and supplies become scarce during the peak lean season.

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