Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) has issued an alert on the possibility of heavy rainfall in some parts of the country between January 30 and February 1 this year.
According to a statement availed to The Guardian in Dar es Salaam yesterday by TMA Acting Communication Manager Monica Muton, the expected heavy rainfall which will be above 50mm in 24 hours will affect some areas of Rukwa, Iringa, Mbeya, Njombe, Ruvuma, Morogoro, Lindi, Pwani, Mtwara regions and neighboring areas.
She said the expected heavy rainfall follows the existence of Tropical cyclone “FELLENG” over the North-east of Madagascar which pulls moisture-rich air from Congo through above the mentioned areas.
Mutton advised the residents of high-risk areas, users of land and sea; and disaster management institutions to take the necessary precautions.
She said that updates regarding the mentioned Tropical cyclone will be issued when necessary.
Earlier this month TMA advised farmers in areas that receive rains twice a year (bimodal) to use the ongoing downpours for agricultural activities to compensate the shortages experienced in the past three months.
The statement said the rains which are out season were the results of unusual Sea Surface Temperature (SST) changes over the Equatorial Tropical Pacific Ocean that happened between October and December last year.
Giving a brief review of the performance of rainfall between October and December last year, evolution of the climatic systems and outlook for the January-March 2013 rain season, the agency’s Director General, Agnes Kijazi said the rains that will fall in different parts of the country should be well utilized for agriculture as well as energy production activities.
She said if the rainfall is well utilized, especially in bimodal areas, they can reverse the shortages experienced in the areas in the past months.
“We had expected to have the el-Nino weather phenomenon at the equatorial tropical Pacific Ocean. Unfortunately instead of increased temperatures on sea surface, there was a decrease…this automatically lowered the availability of rainfall in the country,” she said.
She noted that the country will experience rains in the next three months due to the ‘Dumila’ hurricane effect.
Detailing, the Director General said, “Normal to above normal SST over the southwestern Indian Ocean and below normal SST over the eastern Indian Ocean are expected to trigger an easy flow of moist air towards the country.”
The warming of SST that was expected in December over the southwestern Indian Ocean was due to increase the chance of occurrence of tropical cyclones and hence a great possibility for increased downpour in the country, she said.
“Scientists across the globe are continuing to research the causes behind these unusual changes in the tropical Pacific Ocean…which have never happened before,” she said.
She called upon the relevant government institutions and farmers, pastoralists and fishermen to take precautions during this season by strongly depending on scientific advice.
She said among other institutions, communities should also strongly protect water catchment’s areas, rivers and lakes so as to harvest enough water to be used for development purposes.