The Zambian Meteorological Department(ZMD) has issued a warning for heavy rainfall and flash floods expected over several parts of Zambia over the weekend.
Farmers in the Western, Southern, Lusaka, Central and Eastern Province should prepare for heavy rainfall events, the ZMD said in its latest crop weather bulletin.
Since the start of the rainy season, the western parts of the country have recorded significant rain, with most parts above the regional averages.
There will be some heavy rain in Zimbabwe and Malawi as well according to the Climate Prediction Centre, at the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (CPC, NOAA) during the weekend ahead.
According to the CPC NOAA, Africa Hazards Outlook, persistent heavy rainfall during January continues to heighten the risk for floods and adversely impact infrastructure, livestock and crops throughout southern Africa.
“During the middle of January, heavy rainfall continued across much of south eastern Africa with a noted northward increase of rain and high moisture across parts of Zambia, Malawi and northern Mozambique.”
The weather service warns that the breadth and persistence of heavy rainfall across these parts has elevated river levels, causing flooding and increasing the risk of water-borne disease outbreaks.
There is not much relief in sight, with predictions of continued heavy rain over much of south eastern Zambia. This could pose a threat to the livelihoods of several households.
The service warned that increased rains leading to local flooding and soil saturation was likely to trigger additional floods throughout Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia and the Caprivi Strip region.
Farmers along the Limpopo, Save, Buzi, Pungue, and Zambezi rivers have been warned to prepare for floods with reports already indicating river level rises.
More rain than usual has disrupted fertiliser programmes in some parts of the country. The ZMD’s soil water index shows that current soil water levels are sufficient for maize production.