THE Zambia Meteorological Department has warned farmers in Lusaka, Southern and parts of Central Province that the inadequate rainfall that will be experienced from January 10 to 20, 2018 may induce favourable conditions for bacteria and pest multiplication such as army worms.
And ZMD acting director Edson Nkonde says the dry and hot conditions that have been experienced over Lusaka, Southern, Western and southern parts of Central Province between January 1 and 9 are attributed to tropical cyclone ‘Ava’ that has swept across Madagascar.
According to a press statement, Nkonde stated that rainfall performance for the period October 1 to December 31, 2017 was generally normal to above normal for most parts of the country except areas around Lusaka, Muchinga, Southern and Western
provinces which recorded below average rainfall.
“The inadequate rain days that will be experienced from 10th to 20th January 2018 over Lusaka and Southern provinces including the southern parts of Central Province may induce favourable conditions for bacteria and pest multiplication. People should maintain high levels of hygiene to reduce spread of diarrheal diseases such as cholera. Farmers are advised to be on the lookout for army worms and other pests,” Nkonde warned.
He said the energy accumulation in the atmosphere due to dry conditions might increase thundery activities and high chances of lightening.
“Therefore, people are advised not to take shelter under the trees, tall structures and open spaces,” Nkonde said.
He added that the dry and hot conditions experienced over Lusaka, Southern, Western and southern parts of Central Province between January 1 and 9 were due to tropical cyclone Ava that had swept across Madagascar.
“This has been responsible for the relatively dry airflow from the South-East that has been affecting the country, confining rainfall activities to the northern parts of Zambia,” Nkonde said.
He said during this period (January 1 to 9), the southern half of the country recorded less number of rain days compared to the same period last season (2016/2017).
“For example, Lusaka reported 0 rain days as compared to the same period last season (2016/2017) when it reported nine rain days. The poor rainfall distribution has been due to the tropical cyclone ‘Ava’, which diverted moist airflow away from the country. This was compounded by the high-pressure system over Botswana, which suppressed cloud development resulting in clear skies and warm to hot temperatures in most parts of the country,” stated Nkonde who further advised farmers to take advantage of the increased showery activities to apply fertiliser and re-plant.
“However, more rainfall activities are expected over the northern half of the country and relatively less over Lusaka, Southern and Western provinces [Between January 10 to 20].”