Malawi: Heavy Rains Cause Disruption - Met Issue Floods Alert

24 February 2020

Heavy rainfall on Monday caused disruption on oads in the country capital city Lilongwe and damaged houses and other property after hours of downpour.

The downpour once again exposed poor drainage system in Lilongwe with roads turned impassable as motorists found it hard to drive due to large amounts of surface water on the roads.

The heavy rains also interrupted people's routine businesses.

Meanwhile, the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services (MET) has warned that dry spells are likely to hit southern parts and northern region will experience floods this week.

In a weekly weather update released on Sunday, the director of climate change and meteorological services Jolamu Nkhokwe,said there will be a wave of widespread thunderstorms passing through the country starting from the southern region moving towards the central part and eventually to the northern areas.

"This is due to the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone as it crosses the country, leaving the southern region with meager and reduced rainfall activities. This will result in most areas in the southern region experiencing erratic and isolated thunderstorms interspaced with dry weather conditions particularly over the extreme south.

"While thunderstorm rainfall activities will be interspaced with dry weather conditions, heaviest episodes will be over the northern and central areas of the country. Locally heavy downpours which could result in swelling of rivers due to siltation are likely to trigger floods particularly over northern lakeshore areas," he explained.

Nkhokwe has since urged the public to carry out rainwater harvesting activities such as drilling boreholes to be used for irrigation during any mid-season dry spell.

The MET director has also advised the public to be indoors, stay away from trees to avoid being struck by lightning whenever thunderstorms occur in the vicinity and avoid crossing swelling rivers.

To enhance reduction of future catastrophic floods and dry spells, Nkhokwe has encouraged the general public to plant more trees which will help in the storage of soil moisture and will act as wind breaks during strong winds.

He said MET is closely monitoring weather developments over the country including in South West Indian Ocean and in Mozambique Channel where tropical cyclone formation can occur.

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