The Department of Metrologica l Services and Climate Change (MET) has predicted heavy downpours this week which it says may lead to floodingin some areas of the country.
In a statement signed by its director Jolam u Nkhokwe, the department has attributed the heavy rains to combined effects of Congo air mass and Inter Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ).
According to Nkhokwe, the affected areas are likely to include Nkhata Bay and Karonga in the North, upland areas of Dedza and Dzalanyama inLilongwe in the Centre and lower shire districts in the South.
“From Thursday March 8 to Sunday March 11, 2018, most areas in the country are expected to experience widespread rainfall with locally heavy downpours due to thunderstorms infested with thunder, lightning
and strong winds as an active and violent ITCZ and Congo air ma ss will continue to be in force affecting the weather over the country,enhanced by thermal effects due to heating by the sun in combination and orographic lifting effects over high ground,” reads the statementin part.
It further says the heavy downpours are likely to trigger floods in flood prone low lying areas aggravated by environmental degradation,poor drainage system and heavy downpours upland resulting in swelling of rivers due siltation.
“The public is being advised to religiously pay undivided attention to the continuously available daily, 10-day and weekly weather updates from the department to ensure seamless use of weather information on
all timescales and therefore be kept safe from any weather related threats,” urged Nkhokwe.
Commenting on the report, spokesperson in the Department of Disaster Management Affairs (Dodma) Chipiliro Khamula said as a department,they always alert Civil Protection Committees (CPCs) which are local
structures that are involved in disaster risk management starting from group village heads, Traditional Authorities and district levels whichin turn alert the communities.
“In addition, we use various channels, social media inclusive, to relay weather information to the public and advise them to exercise caution depending on weather forecast,” he said.
In terms of preparations, the department says it has stockpiled relief items in strategic places for the good part of the rainy season and also conducted search and rescue training for the military, police,
fire brigade and Malawi Red Cross.
“We have also put in place standby arrangements for deployment of search and rescue personnel and equipment. Kindly note that the preparations are not specific for the disasters as predicted by MET,we do this year in and year out,” he added.