Rains Not Over Yet

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By Surihe Gaomas WINDHOEK The current Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) south of the Equator is likely to bring about more good rains over the country during the next three weeks. This came to light during a public lecture on Wednesday where Guido van Langenhove from the Department of Water Affairs at the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Forestry talked about the “Effects of Rainfall in Namibia”. Addressing interested members of the public, Langenhove said that the global La Nina weather phenomenon is bringing favourable rainy conditions into Namibia. “Rains this year were exceptionally high, actually very high and according to weather forecasts the northern part of the country will still receive heavy rains in the coming two weeks,” said Langenhove. Based on weather forecasts from the Windhoek Meteorological Office, there has been persistent rainfall in the country, even though the rainy season started only in January this year. Globally, the La Nina, meaning the girl as opposed to the El Nino the boy, has brought about the warming up of the seawater along Na-mibia’s coastline, which in turn has an effect on the weather conditions. La Nina is characterised by unusually cold ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific, whereas El Nino is characterised by unusually warm ocean temperatures in the Equatorial Pacific. Recent statistics from the Windhoek Met Office show that the country still has 40 to 60 percent chance of rain during the course of this week, while more showers are also expected till the end of this month. According to the Met office there has been “continued widespread rainfall” in both January and February. For instance in January, Katima Mulilo recorded a total of 207 mm, Ondangwa was the second highest with 154,7 mm and Okaukeujo had 126 mm. Karasburg had the lowest at only 4,8 mm. As for the month of February, the rain persisted, with half of the number of stations accumulating more than twice the normal rainfall for January. These are even higher figures as compared to the same months last year. During the public lecture, Langenhove also touched on the flood situation in the country, citing the flooding at Mariental on February 26 as a prominent one this year. “The whole (Hardap) irrigation system got inundated with flood water and got badly damaged. These floods were very bad because there were wash-aways of soils, crops and infrastructure,” said Langenhove, who added that the latest floods reminded people of the legendary 1972 floods. In 1972 the maximum inflow volume was 6 300 cubic meters per second, while the outflow was at 3 700 cubic meters per second. This year, the inflow was 4 000 cubic meters per second, while the four sluice gates of the Hardap Dam were opened at 3 500 cubic meters per second. Other large floods for this year were in the Arebbusch River, Swakop River at Von Bach Dam, Oanob River at Oanob Dam, Tsuchab River at Sesriem, Lower Kuiseb River, Fish River and Hom River at Draihuk Dam. Low flows of rain were however experienced at the Omaruru, Kunene, Kavango and Zambezi rivers.