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Better rains forecast from January

GOITSEMODIMO KAELO
Meteorological experts have forecast that the country will experience good rains for the remainder of the season.

Botswana’s rain season runs from October to December and January to March each year. However, increasingly, climate change experts are warning that the onset and intensity of rains is changing rapidly.

Yesterday, acting deputy director of the Department of Meteorological Services Othata Mmolotsi told journalists that their analysis of the seasonal rainfall outlook for the period January to March indicated that the country would experience normal to above-normal rainfall.

Mmolotsi said this was due to the present weak La Nina conditions, which are also expected to persist throughout the summer.

“Overall, a moderately wet season is expected for the months of January to March 2018. This is mainly due to the presence of a weak La Nina,” he said.

According to Mmolotsi, the northern parts of the country, which includes the eastern Ngamiland, Chobe and northern parts of the central districts, are expected to receive largely normal with a tendency to above-normal rains.

Moreover, the eastern and northeastern parts of the country are expected to receive largely normal rainfall. These areas include the southern parts of the Central District and Northeast.

“The southeastern, northwest (Southern, Southeast, Kgatleng Kweneng, Gantsi and western parts of Ngamiland) as well as the southern parts of the country have been forecast to receive normal to above-normal rains.”

Mmolotsi stated that they expect that the weak La Nina conditions and the sea surface temperatures would

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continue to have a major impact on the weather and climate patterns over the country.

The rainfall updates followed a three-day regional seasonal forecast session for the period 2017/2018 held by the Southern Africa Regional Climate Outlook Forum (SARCOF).

Principal meteorologist John Stegling said most areas in the country received well below normal rains in the first half of the rainfall season, which began in October. However, he said there were instances of above-normal rains in some areas.

Furthermore, he said that due to the amount of rainfall received last year, there are high chances of some parts of the country experiencing floods.

“Last year we had lots of rain. Most of our reservoirs are almost full before it even rains. Any little rain that we have might cause floods. Although we are not able to determine the amount of rain we will get on a certain day, but chances of flooding will increase,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mmolotsi said the draft climate change policy document has been circulated across stakeholders for input.  “We are gathering comments which we would incorporate before taking it to Parliament. I hope it will go to Parliament during the February seating,” he said.

Mmolotsi admitted that the policy is long overdue. He stated that they had planned to have it presented to Parliament during the November seating but were behind schedule.



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