Dam levels still critical

Namibians were delighted with last week's widespread rains, but they had little impact on empty storage dams.

13 December 2019 | Disasters

While several dams have received inflows following good rains over the majority of the country, forecasts indicate that most parts of Namibia can expect only a 25% chance of abnormal rain during the first three months of 2020.

At least seven of Namibia's dams reported inflows during the recent goods rains. The country's dams are now, on average, 20.4% full, compared to 19.3% last week.

During the previous rainy season dams were 34.7% full.

Meanwhile, the seasonal rainfall forecast for January to March next year indicates that the majority of the country can expect a 25% probability of abnormal rainfall.

According to the forecast provided by the Namibian Metrological Services, sea surface temperatures over the eastern and central Pacific Ocean were indicative of a weak El Niño during October and early November 2019.

“However, these near normal temperatures are only indicative of intra-seasonal variability and not El Niño conditions. Most of the climate models favour El Niño-Southern Oscillation-neutral conditions during the remainder of our rainfall season.”

According to the forecast the south-western Indian Ocean sea surface temperatures were observed as abnormally warm during the beginning of December 2019.

“It is expected that abnormally warm temperatures over the south-western Indian Ocean will generate an increased number of tropical cyclones which will suppress rainfall over the contiguous SADC.”

According to the forecast during the period January to March next year most of the country, including the Zambezi, Kavango East and Kavango West, Ohangwena, Oshikoto, Oshana, Omusati, Otjozondjupa, Erongo, Omaheke, Khomas and Kunene regions can expect a 25% probability of above-normal rain.

There is a 40% probability of normal rain and a 35% probability in the below-normal category for the majority of the country.

For the //Karas and Hardap regions there is a 40% probability in the below-normal category, a 35% probability in the normal category and 25% probability in the above-normal category.

However, below-normal rainfall was still observed throughout the majority of Namibia during November, with the exception of the Zambezi Region and pockets areas of Ondangwa and Engombe that experienced normal rainfall.

This is according to the Namibia rainfall performance report for the month of November, issued by the meteorological division in the works ministry.

During last month Bukalo in the eastern of the Zambezi Region reported the highest rainfall within 24 hours, receiving 54mm, followed by Ondangwa and Engombe which both received 31mm, Gaikos and Ndonga-Linena, which both reported 28mm, and Eiseb in the Omaheke Region, which received 24mm of rain.

On a seasonal scale, between October and November this year, most rainfall stations throughout Namibia reported suppressed rainfall activities. Normal rainfall was, however, received in pocket areas of Ondangwa and Khorixas and the Zambezi Region. Ndonga-Linena in the Kavango East to Eiseb in the Omaheke Region reported normal rainfall for the season.

According to the report the area from north-eastern Erongo Region, through to the Oshana Region, to western parts of Kavango West reported normal rainfall for the season.

“Most of the rains were observed during the month of November, with the exclusion of the Ondangwa and Ongwediva areas, which received significant falls since October.”

ELLANIE SMIT

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