Dry spell expected to extend to next week

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Climate Change through the Department of Climate Change and Meteorological Services says the dry spell which has hit most parts of Malawi, will extend to Tuesday next week, December 12, 2023.

This is contained in a Thursday statement from the ministry and the MET department which is about the prolonged dry spells prevailing in southern Malawi and many other areas.

The statement which indicates that the dry spell is moderate in most parts but severe in Shire Valley areas, also states that the dryness is expected to go up to Tuesday but said it may even exceed to more days in some affected areas.

“Malawi is experiencing a prolonged dry spell especially the Southern and parts of the Central region. The dryness is moderate over many places but severe conditions are along the Shire Valley.

“The dry spell is expected to extend to Tuesday next week though there are chances that some places may exceed to more days. However, the northern and lakeshore areas are expected to continue experiencing isolated thunderstorms with rain,” reads part of the statement.

The ministry together with the MET department, further stipulated that the prolonged dry spells being experienced now are also being accompanied by excessive temperatures and has therefore, advised the general public to implement agricultural practices that retain soil moisture.

The statement has further reminded people that the seasonal forecast that was issued prior to the beginning of the 2023/2024 rainfall season, indicated the high chance of Malawi receiving normal to below-normal rainfall amounts across the country and the possibility of delayed onset exceeding two weeks was also highlighted.

The department added that from observations from 1 October, the rainfall onset has set in many places though in some areas it was a false onset while in others the onset was superseded by the prolonged dry spells.

According to MET, October had below normal rainfall over the northern areas while the scenario changed in the month of November, where the drier conditions were more in central and southern.

It is also reported that a typical El Niño season suppresses rainfall in Southern Africa and enhances rainfall over Eastern Africa and Malawi being in the transition zone, sometimes southern Malawi behaves like the Southern Africa and Northern Malawi like Eastern Africa, though the delineation boundary varies from year to year.