The Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has said a 42-year-old record of heavy rainfall received within a day has been broken and predicted heavy rains that may uproot trees and leave a trail of destruction today and tomorrow.
In its daily weather update yesterday, the MSD said a record 203 millimetres (mm) were received on Wednesday in Chiredzi, adding that the last record of 98mm was recorded in 1977.
“The moist conditions currently affecting the country resulted in widespread thunderstorms. Heavier falls were recorded over Masvingo, Matabeleland South and Manicaland provinces with Buffalo Range/Chiredzi (203mm) breaking the standing record (98mm) of 1977. Other significant figures were Mukadzi (126mm), Beitbridge, (75mm), Rupike (73mm) Zaka (70mm) and Esigodini (58mm),” read the statement.
The MSD said rains are expected countrywide today and tomorrow and some areas such as Matabeleland South will receive heavy rains in excess of 50mm in 24 hours.
Flash flooding and destruction of infrastructure may result from the heavy rains.
“In general rains are expected countrywide from Wednesday 13 until Saturday 16 February 2019, with heavy falls in some places.
“Of note, however, some parts of Manicaland, Matabeleland South, Masvingo Provinces as well as southern areas of Midlands are forecast to receive heavier rains in excess of 50mm in 24 hours,” read the MSD statement.
“Thereafter, the rains should steadily ease off giving way to bright showery conditions in most areas and localised heavier falls in places.”
The department warned people against crossing flooded rivers as this increases their chances of being swept away and drowning.
“Widespread thunderstorms are expected in all areas, with heavier falls in places. It should be cloudy and warm by day, becoming mild overnight. Flash flooding is still a potential threat. Avoid crossing flooded rivers and swollen streams where the depth is unknown noting that even if the heavy downpours have not occurred in the area, it could have done so upstream,” the MSD said.
It urged motorists to avoid driving on roads covered by water especially at night as their judgment could be affected. The MSD said the rains could leave a trail of destruction.
“These rains may result in uprooting of trees and damage to infrastructure cannot be ruled out with this type of rainfall intensity.
“Try to avoid being caught outdoors or on the road during heavy storms, more so at night when flood dangers are more difficult to perceive,” said MSD.
Meanwhile, Government has urged parents and school authorities to monitor the weather conditions before sending children to school and back home. Primary and Secondary Education Ministry Deputy Minister Cde Edgar Moyo said children should not lose their lives while attempting to cross flooded rivers.
“I want to advise parents and school teachers that pupils must not cross flooded rivers. Schools should activate laid down safety procedures that they were taught. We don’t want to lose lives due to flooded rivers. No one should risk their live by crossing flooded rivers. They should never even try to cross flooded rivers,” said Cde Moyo. — @nqotshili/— @sharonbuwe