7 January 2013

Namibia: Lack of Rain Causes Heat Waves

NAMIBIA has experienced one of its hottest Decembers in many years with maximum temperatures measured at over 40 degrees at certain places during last month and with Windhoek's average temperature more than seven degrees Celsius higher than normally in December.

According to the Meteorological Service high temperatures were also measured in the northern areas but rainy events that were mainly confined to the northern-eastern, northern and central parts of the country cooled these areas off.

"The southern parts of the country were largely hot and dry with isolated rainfall occurrences, and the month's rainfall performance was clearly below normal," the chief meteorologist, Sepisho Mwangala, told The Namibian.

In December Katima Mulilo experienced 18 rainy days and a total of 133,5 mm of rainfall, Rundu 14 rainy days with a total of 104,4mm, Ondangwa 10 rainy days with a total of 100,9mm, Grootfontein nine rainy days with a total of 58,6mm, while Windhoek experienced six rainy days with a total of 37,2mm.

"It was the absence of cloud coverage that caused the high maximum temperatures. The average maximum temperature for Windhoek is 30,2 degrees, but during the last December the average temperature measured for the capital was 37,5 degrees. The highest temperature measured for Windhoek during the past December was on Christmas, Family Day and on the 27th of the month when more than 40 degrees were experienced in the capital," said Mwangala.

Only two rainy days have been experienced at Keetmanshoop with a total of 7,2mm measured at the southern town during December, while Okaukuejo received drops of rain on ten days with a total of 2,5mm received.

"Tourists also experienced hot conditions in the Etosha National Park over December where an average of 35,2 degrees was measured at Okaukuejo last December," said Mwangala.

With the below average rainfall over the southern parts of Namibia the level of the dams in that areas are also lower. The Hardap Dam is now 54,7% full compared to 58,6% last year while the Naute Dam also has more than 11% less water than last year. The Oanob Dam is 67,4% full compared to last year's 84,9% this time of the year, while the capacity of the Olushandja Dam in the Omusati Region is half of what it was last year.

However, in the mean time has the level of the Zambezi, Kwando and Kavango rivers have started rising due to good showers in Angola, Zambia and the catchment areas in Namibia.

The Zambezi River's level stood on Friday on 1,43 meters, which is already high for this time of the year.

The Kwando River's level was on 2,86 meters (normal level this time of the year is 2,31 metres), while the level of the Kavango River at Rundu stood at 5,51 metres on Friday, comparing to the normal level of 4,35 metres this time of the year.

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