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Meteorological Department warns of flash floods

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THE Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has warned the public to take necessary precautions as it anticipates heavy rains that could cause flash flooding in certain areas across the country.

This comes at a time when the country has been eagerly awaiting the rainy season to commence following months of hot weather, which saw water levels in major water bodies, including Kariba Dam, fall sharply.

The warning also comes at a time when the country is still reeling from the effects of Cylcone Idai, which left over 600 dead and hundreds missing in Chimanimani in March 2019.

MSD head of forecasting Tich Zinyemba said areas such as Matabeleland North, Harare, Bulawayo, northern areas of the Midlands and all Mashonaland provinces are this week expected to be mostly cloudy and humid with
scattered thundershowers while localised heavy rains are probable.

Zinyemba added that the provinces of Masvingo, southern areas of the Midlands, Matabeleland South and Manicaland were expected to have isolated showers.

“Localised flash flooding may occur in areas with poor drainage. “Heavy rains tend to reduce visibility, more so at night. Strong winds may be destructive in places, Mosquitoes proliferate during this season.

“Stay indoors during thunderstorms, if outdoors do not shelter under/near isolated trees or shed. If no shelter is available try to crouch as low as possible with only your toes touching the ground,” Zinyemba said.

“Keep away from metal equipment during a storm as these are prone to lighting strikes. Do not ride at the back of an open truck and tractors, even when lighting seems far off.

Avoid attempting to cross flooded rivers and swollen streams where the depth is unknown.

“Persons in malaria prone areas should take necessary precautions like insecticides spraying, applying mosquito repellents and sleeping under and mosquito nets.

“Fill potholes which allow stagnation of water as these may become breeding areas of mosquitos,” Zinyemba said.

The MSD also revealed that the moisture field from Zambia responsible for the copious rain over much of the country is expected to slightly recede over the southern areas of the country due to the influence of cool southeasterly winds.

This past weekend several areas recorded heavy rains in excess of 50mm. Among them were Gokwe (123mm), Featherstone, Chikomba district (76mm), Kwekwe (69mm), Victoria Falls (more than 60mm), Nkayi (51mm) and Chivhu (50mm).

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