Thundershowers expected in several parts

28 Jan 2016 16:00pm
WINDHOEK, 28 JAN (NAMPA) – A few thundershowers are expected in several parts of the country for the rest of the week, the Namibia Meteorological Service says.
In its weather outlook for 27 to 30 January 2016, the national weather forecaster predicted that a few isolated thundershowers are expected, especially in Rundu, Ondangwa, Windhoek and Keetmanshoop. The coast is expected to be cloudy and warm.
“It will be partly cloudy and hot over the north-eastern regions with a few thundershowers spreading to the central-north and central regions at night. Elsewhere it will be fine and hot,” the weather forecast issued for Thursday says.
Meanwhile, the latest dam bulletin issued by NamWater on Monday noted that local dams’ water levels did not change much since the last bulletin issued on 18 January 2016. This includes the water levels of the Goreangab and Friedenau Dams (Windhoek); Omaruru Dam (Henties Bay); Oanob Dam (Rehoboth), and Omatjenne dam (Otjiwarongo).
However, the water levels of the Hardap Dam near Mariental and the Naute Dam near Keetmanshoop have changed tremendously since the last bulletin issued last week. Currently, the Hardap Dam is 48.5 per cent full compared to 35.4 per cent a week ago, while the Naute Dam is 99.4 per cent full compared to 70.3 per cent a week ago.
The country’s dams collectively are presently only 41.1 per cent full. A week ago, this figure stood at 31.6 per cent.
The Hydrological Services Namibia daily flood bulletin for Thursday indicated that no new rains were reported across the country.
It stated that satellite images over the last 24 hours showed isolated light showers over the Kavango and Zambezi catchment areas on the Namibian side.
“The Kavango River maintains its steady rise and flows are above normal for this time of the year,” it stressed.
International weather forecasters recently predicted that the current El Niño is expected to persist for an additional four to six months.
The United States (US) National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the International Research Institute at Columbia University (IRI), and the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF) all suggested last week that continued below-average rainfall is likely across substantial parts of the southern African region.
“The ongoing El Niño has resulted in a severe drought across southern Africa. Rains, which typically begin in October/November, have been 10 to more than 50 days late and significantly below average. This poor rainfall, in combination with above-average temperatures, has limited crop development; pasture regrowth; and water availability.
“If rainfall remains below average, as forecasts suggest, the current growing season is likely to be one of the driest on record,” an alert issued by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (Fewsnet) on Friday said.
Regional food supplies are limited, staple food prices are higher than average, and acute food insecurity is more prevalent than usual due to poor crop harvests in early 2015. If the abnormally hot and dry conditions persist, a regional food security crisis, including a substantial increase in the size of the acutely food insecure population, is considered likely in the latter half of 2016 and early 2017, it said.
The alert cautioned that high temperatures will continue, further exacerbating the impacts of reduced rainfall. A continuation of hot, dry conditions is likely to reduce yields in both chronically food deficit areas and key surplus-producing parts of the region, including northern South Africa, northern Zimbabwe and possibly southern Zambia. Drought emergencies have been declared in several provinces in South Africa and Lesotho. Water authorities in Botswana, Swaziland, South Africa, and Namibia are advising residents to limit water usage because of low dam levels.
While it is too early to provide detailed estimates of the population likely to be food insecure in 2016/17, Fewsnet expects that this population will be at least two times higher than current levels.
“In the short term, close monitoring of the season is required and additional assistance will be needed to help food insecure households manage an extended 2016 lean season. In the medium term, humanitarian partners should begin contingency planning given that, over the coming year, the severity of food insecurity and the size of the food insecure population in Southern Africa may reach their highest levels since the 2002/03 food crisis,” it added.