MET complains over shortage of weather stations in Malawi


The Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says a lack of weather stations is one of the challenges the department is encountering in assessing and forecasting weather conditions.

Chief Meteorologist for the Department responsible for observations and weather forecasting, Charles Vanya, disclosed this on Monday in Chikwawa when he presented the 2020/21 downscaled rainfall pattern for the district.

Automatic weather station in Monkey Bay

He said most of the weather stations in Chikwawa district became nonoperational due to financial challenges and that out of over 30 weather stations the district used to have, only 5 are active.

He said currently the department issues weather forecasts for the district based on random samples generated from within some parts of the district where there are active weather stations.

He disclosed further that the situation is almost the same in most parts of the country as there are few weather stations and that districts weather forecasts are based on random samples generated from within the parts of the districts where there are functional weather stations.

Vanya, however, said the department is currently distributing automatic rain gauges in all the district’s extension planning areas (EPAs) to ensure that no part of the country is left out in its national weather forecasts.

Vanya said: “Every district has its own local factors that influence its weather pattern. That is why every part of the district need not to be left out in weather assessment.  Therefore, as a department we are ensuring that no part of the country is left out in national weather forecasts.”

On his part, Chikwawa District Director for Agriculture, Environment and Natural Resources, Donald Mg’ambi said Chikwawa is one of the districts worst hit by effects of climate change hence there is need for accurate weather forecast in the district for farmers to plan their farming activities appropriately.

The department of climate change and meteorological services in its 2020/21 rainfall outlook projected that the country shall experience normal to above rainfall amounts due to La Nina weather conditions raising fears of floods in flood prone districts of Chikwawa and Nsanje.