TMA’s forecast on flood risk, dry weather must be taken up

25Oct 2020
The Guardian
TMA’s forecast on flood risk, dry weather must be taken up

​​​​​​​FORECASTING by the Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) over the past month or so points to a haphazard rainfall pattern over the end of year period, with many parts of the country having below normal rains and others faced with noticeable risks of flooding.

This situation can be confusing as people and institutions will not be dealing with a consistent pattern of events, such as flooding, where decisions or moves of a specific kind ought to be taken.

Part of the forecasting shows that residents of the central and southern highlands regions will have to brace for torrential rains in the next few weeks.

According to TMA director general Dr Agnes Kijazi, the climate outlook for November (the incoming month) to next April will include rains that will mostly be above normal in the zone.

Seasonal rains due between November and January will likely be enhanced by a deep low pressure climatic pattern over the south-western part of the Indian Ocean, causing short periods of heavy rains in the zone.

That kind of situation will obviously occasion water accumulation and flooding with noticeable impact on infrastructure and even loss of lives. It would be a situation that can’t be prevented but entailing less damage the more individual housing and public facilities are built to standard.

That means many areas will be more resilient this time than happened a year or two earlier, counting the breadth of improvement of facilities taking place.

Heavy seasonal rains in the November to January period were said to be likely for much of Tabora Region before spreading to other areas ordinarily experiencing one extended rainfall season.

On the contrary, most other areas must anticipate shortage of water as below-normal rainfall patterns will be predominant.

That would be but another facet of the same climatic pattern, of short intense rainfall in some areas and a shortage of rain in others.

TMA has cautioned that communities may be forced to resort to unsafe water, which can ignite outbreaks of water-borne diseases – this calling for enhance vigilance and assistance.

The recent restoration of rail services both for the central and northern lines as well as TAZARA is a pointer that, with the right precautions, getting potable water regularly at affordable prices can be assured for below normal rainfall areas for months.

Letting people scavenge on cattle feeding ponds to carry yellow water in pots or plastic drums for domestic use will be unacceptable level of negligence. It is like letting disease spread out while there are means to mitigate or even control such dangers.

The TMA projection did not just have bad news of flooding or relative drought, as it also noted that sufficient soil moisture levels favouring farming will be largely assured in the zone expected to experience normal to above normal rains.

This zone comprises Tabora, Katavi, Lindi, Mbeya, Mtwara, Njombe, Songwe, Iringa and Ruvuma regions as well as the southern part of Morogoro Region.

All the same different parts of one region are likely to experience different climatic patterns for the year-end rainfall season, further complicating decision making at the regional and district level, not just nationally. That would still underline the need for stepped-up vigilance and disaster preparedness.

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