The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (DCCMS) has forecast bad weather this week adding that heavy torrential rains, lightening and strong winds are likely to be experience over the Southern, some parts of the Central and the Northern Regions of Malawi.
According to MET director Jolamu Nkhokwe, the ‘unstable’ weather is being influenced by relatively warm and moist airflow from the north east meeting unstable airflow from the south easterly enhanced by thermal and orographic effects.
For its part, MET has advised the nation to take precautionary measures such as being in doors of strong structures or vehicles whenever thunderstorms occur within the vicinity to avoid being struck by lightning or being harmed by flying objects blown off from weak structures.
“Gusty winds associated with thunderstorms are likely to cause damages to infrastructure such as ripping off roofs from buildings and breaking off trees and their branches.
The public is also advised to avoid touching electrical equipment, plumbing works, bathing or washing dishes, swimming, fishing, stay away from windows and doors and stay at a low spot away from trees, metal fences, pipes, tall and long objects during a thunderstorm episode occurrences to avoid damage and loss of property and life.
In one of the weather forecast, Met did predict that during the period between October 2017 to March 2018 a greater part of the country will experience normal rainfall amounts with episodes of extreme weather events such as prolonged dry spells and floods in some places.
Last rainy season, a number of accidents were reported throughout the country with lives and property being lost due to hailstorms, lightening and drowning.
In view of this, the Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) says it has put in place measures to ensure maximum safety of the people.
Dodma spokesperson Chipiliro Khamula said in preparation for any disaster, the department is prepositioning and stockpiling relief items including food, blankets, kitchen utensils and plastic sheets in strategic places.
Khamula said plans are at an advanced stage to preposition search and rescue personnel and equipment to strategic places. The equipment include vehicles, boats, and helicopters.
During the 2017/2018 budget, the department was allocated K1.2 billion for disaster response operations.
Khamula also indicated that as a long time plan, the department in collaboration with the Ministry of Lands, Housing and Urban Development, is disseminating safer housing and construction guidelines to local artisans and communities for the nation to have durable and strong houses that can withstand the impact of disasters in prone areas.
“We are also, together with implementing partners such as the UNDP, implementing the six-year Scaling Up the Use of Modernized Climate Information and Early Warning Systems (M-CLIMES) project which aims to support the Malawi Government to take steps to save lives and enhance livelihoods at risk from climate-related disasters,” he said.
The Project, worth US$16, 264,545 will benefit 2 million people across 21 districts of the country. Beneficiaries include farmers, fishers and flood prone communities, among others.