28 February 2013

Tanzania: Scanty Rains Expected As Season Starts March

THE long rains season, which is expected to begin in the first week of next month, will fall below normal in most parts of the country, the Tanzania Meteorological Agency has warned. In this regard, farmers have been cautioned against using water haphazardly. They should heed the advice of agriculture experts so they avert losses.

Addressing journalists, TMA Director General Dr Agnes Kijazi said the weather condition has been caused by warming over the eastern Atlantic Ocean, off the coast of Angola. Suppressed westerly winds flow from the Congo Basin and neutral sea surface temperature anomalies with weak easterly winds flow over the western Indian Ocean.

"Although the long (masika) rains will be below normal in most parts of the country, some parts will experience normal rains," Dr Kijazi explained. She noted that below normal rains are expected in the northern parts of Iringa and Mbeya regions ending in the third week of April. Iringa and Mbeya regions are among the major food producers in the country popularly known as 'The Big Four'.

Rains are expected to start falling in the first week of March, in Kagera and Geita regions and gradually spreading to Mwanza, Mara, Shinyanga and Simiyu regions in the second week. Most parts of Kagera and Mara regions will most likely experience normal rains, according to Dr Kijazi, while Mwanza, Shinyanga, Geita and Simiyu regions are expected to receive below normal rains in the Lake Victoria basin.

In the Northern coast and hinterland, including Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Coast, northern part of Morogoro region and the Isles of Unguja and Pemba, rains will start in the first week of next month. In Dar es Salaam, Tanga, northern areas of coast region and Unguja and Pemba the rains will likely be normal, however northern of Morogoro and South of Coast region will experience below normal rains.

"The Northeastern highlands; Kilimanjaro, Arusha and Manyara regions should expect normal rains during the first week of March, this year," she said. Rains in the Western areas of Kigoma, Tabora and Katavi regions are expected to be mainly below normal and are likely to recede during the fourth week of April, this year.

The central areas of Singida and Dodoma regions, will receive rains that range from below normal to normal but will start to recede during the second week of April. The Southern coastal areas of Mtwara and Lindi regions will receive mainly below normal rains in most parts. The rains will end during the second week of April.

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