Rainfall outlook improves

06 February 2019 | Weather

JANA-MARI SMITH



Heavy rains are expected over Namibia’s interior today and on Friday.

This is in line with a recent report which predicted a better chance of rain for large parts of the country for the remainder of the season.

Chief forecaster Odillo Kgobetsi of the Namibia Meteorological Service (NMS) yesterday said widespread thundershowers are expected over the interior today and tomorrow.

He added that daytime temperatures will drop slightly due to cloud cover and rain.

Further thundershowers are expected to continue over the weekend.

In the extreme west and the Karas Region, sunny conditions are expected today and tomorrow.

Elsewhere, it will be partly cloudy and hot to very hot with scattered thundershowers in the central-north today.

A recent weather outlook published by climatologist and weather expert Johan van den Berg of Santam Agriculture in South Africa predicted a “sharp improvement for rainfall conditions for most of the summer rainfall areas for weeks to come.”

Van den Berg said the probability of rain in central and northern Namibia in February and March has improved notably from previous forecasts.

The chances of in southern Namibia remain poor, though.

The report, which was issued in late January, links the improved outlook to El Niño conditions which have weakened “rapidly since the second part of December 2018 and are now in the neutral range or just outside the neutral range.”

The Southern Oscillation Index (SOI) also remained neutral in the past few months, not reflecting any El Niño conditions, Van den Berg explained.

Moreover, the Indian Ocean Dipole Index (IOD) is also now in the neutral range.

“February and March are historically the dominant rainfall months for the central and western parts of the country, and it seems there is a high probability for that to occur in 2019. There is now a sharp, positive chance in the outlook for the rest of the summer season with improved probabilities for rainfall,” he wrote.

For many Namibians the improved chance of rain is welcome news.

Yesterday, Namibian Sun reported on a warning issued by the Namibia Agricultural Union (NAU) and the Namibia Emerging Commercial Farmers' Union (NECFCU), who had released a drought action plan in order to mitigate the ongoing drought in Namibia, which has been described as a “national crisis”.

The NAU and NECFCU warned that the current drought is the worst in recent years, as no part of Namibia has received good rains to date.

The latest NamWater dam bulletin, issued on Monday, indicates the Swakoppoort Dam is currently 20.4% full, compared to 39.2% at the same time last year.

The Von Bach Dam is 49.8% full (54.2% last year); the Hardap Dam is at 31.2% (41.5% last year); and the Naute Dam is at 61.7% (67.7% last year)