Only two months after rains led to disastrous floods in parts of the country, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has announced that the annual long rains will likely start falling this week.
TMA Director General Dr Agnes Kijazi said in Dar es Salaam yesterday that the climate outlook for March-May 2012 shows that most of the areas in the north coast and hinterland will receive normal to above normal rainfall save for Shinyanga Region which is expected to receive normal rains.
She said Iringa, Ruvuma and Mtwara regions are likely to experience below normal rains, likely to last until end of April.
She said the reasons for this uneven rain distribution include enhanced westerly wind flow, anomalous cooling of sea surface temperatures (SSTs) over the central and eastern Atlantic Ocean and the slight warming over southwestern Indian Ocean.
She said regions around the Lake Victoria basin (Kagera, Mwanza and Mara) will get rains in the first week of March. Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast, northern Morogoro, Unguja and Pemba islands are also likely to receive rains this week.
Dr Kijazi said some of the regions including Mbeya, Iringa and southern Morogoro have already started getting rains.
According to Dr Kijazi, the short rains (vuli) which were experienced between October and December last year faired well over most parts of the country, though some areas received heavy rains towards the end of the season.
She advised the public to make use of the rains, adding that water levels in lakes and dams are likely to increase. She said farmers should use the long rains to cultivate cash and food crops.
Authorities in areas that normally receive above normal rains have been advised to clear drainage systems to avoid trapping water flow so as to reduce the impact of heavy rains.
Early this month TMA told The Guardian that the then downpour in different parts of the country would likely go on until the start of the long rainy season.
According to the agency, during the second 10-day forecast in February, this year, the northern hemisphere’s high pressure cells, the Azores high (area at the Southern part of Atlantic Ocean), Siberian high and its associated Arabian ridge had been gradually weakening.
Late last year, torrential rains caused floods which claimed over 23 lives and destroyed houses and properties in Dar es Salaam’s valley areas “temporarily paralysing part of its services”. Some of the worst hit areas were Kinondoni and Mbezi.
A bridge at Mbezi was swept away and another damaged. In total, over 4,500 people were internally displaced.