The Malawi Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services has warned of heavy rains from Sunday January 29.
According to a statement released on Sunday and signed by Director of Climate Change and Meteorological Services Jolamu Nkhokwe, more rains are expected up to Sunday 5th February 2017.
He said the rains will be associated with occasional thunderstorms and locally heavy downpours due to the dominance of an influx of Congo air mass into most parts of the country.
“During the month of February Tropical cyclones which are very deep warm cored low pressure areas that form over the South West Indian Ocean and propagate westwards including the Mozambique Channel become active and have influence on Malawi weather pattern depending on their positions in the Indian Ocean.”
“When Tropical Cyclones hit into the East African coast and move inland, Malawi experiences torrential rainfall that causes flooding in flood prone areas. But when Tropical Cyclones are located south of 20 degrees latitude in the Mozambique Channel the southern half of the country experiences dry spells caused by an influx of dry airflow from the south west,” Nkhokwe said in the statement.
He further said that as the soil is already very wet, the persistence of locally heavy downpours during this period is expected to trigger floods in low lying areas of flood prone districts in the country which will be aggravated by environmental degradation and poor drainage system and heavy downpours.
Meanwhile, the department of climate change has advised the general public to take caution when crossing swelling rivers, pay attention to daily weather updates on local media and take precautionary measures such as being in doors whenever thunderstorms occur in the vicinity.
People have also been urged to stay inside a building or vehicle, stay off corded phones, not touch electrical equipment or cords, avoid plumbing, not bath or wash dishes, stay away from windows and doors and not lie on concrete floors or lean against walls.
However, the department says tree planting activities and allowing regeneration of trees should continue to enhance reduction of catastrophic floods, enhance storage of soil moisture and to act as wind breaks during strong winds. But old trees which can be hazardous during heavy rainstorms and cause some inconveniences should be properly managed.