Most parts of southern Africa, including Malawi, are expected to receive erratic rainfall in the 2018/19 agricultural season, according to a latest outlook.
The climate experts predict that seasonal rainfall for the period between October 2018 and March 2019 will be ‘normal to below-normal’ across most parts of the region, except Tanzania.
The consensus forecast, produced by the 22nd Southern African Regional Climate Outlook Forum (Sarcof) in Lusaka, Zambia last month, shows that the weather condition will affect most of the 16 Southern African Development Community (Sadc) countries.
Last year, Sarcof forecasted a repeat of the 2015 weather pattern in which some parts of the region, including Malawi, experienced extreme drought and episodes of heavy flooding.
The recent Sarcof forecast is divided into two parts, covering October-November-December 2018 and January-February-March 2019.
It says southern Malawi is likely to receive ‘normal to below-normal’ rainfall between October and December 2018.
During the second-half of the season, from January to March 2019, the rainfall forecast will not change, according to the forecast.
However, the climate experts forecast that during the same season, northern Malawi will get adequate rainfall.
Further, the experts forecast a possibility of an early onset of the 2018-19 season, which could be followed by prolonged dry spells that disturb the timing and spatial distribution of rainfall in southern Africa.
The regional forecast comes at a time when the food security situation in the region has been subdued this year due to a lower harvest during the 2017-18 agricultural season.