DAR ES SALAAM – The Tanzania Meteorological Authority (TMA) has forecasted above-average to average rainfall for the upcoming October to December season, attributing the weather pattern to the El-Nino rains.
Dr. Ladislaus Chang’a, Acting Director-General of TMA, revealed this prediction for regions that typically experience two rainy seasons in a year. He stated that even though the El-Nino phenomenon had been evident globally from June, meteorological patterns suggest that the effects will be felt during the upcoming rainy season in Tanzania.
Regions expected to receive the El-Nino-influenced rains include Kagera, Geita, Mwanza, Shinyanga, southern Simiyu, northern Kigoma, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Pwani (including the Mafia Islands), northern Morogoro, and the islands of Unguja and Pemba. Meanwhile, regions like Mara, northern Simiyu, Arusha, Manyara, and Kilimanjaro are expected to receive average to above-average rainfall.
Dr. Chang’a emphasized that December will experience the most rainfall, with moderate El-Nino intensity. In contrast, the 1997 and 1998 El-Nino events were severe, causing significant disasters, and the 2006/2007 event was mild. However, this year’s El-Nino is expected to be more intense than 2006/2007.
Short rainfall periods are also expected in September, with the main rainy season commencing in October in most areas. The rains are anticipated to start early in the last week of September in the western regions of Lake Victoria and spread to other regions by October, usually concluding in December. “However, off-season rains are expected to continue until January of next year, with an increase in rainfall expected in December,” Dr. Chang’a added.
Given the predicted heavy rains, local and district authorities are warned of potential waterlogging and flooding that might cause infrastructure damage loss of life, and property. They are advised to enhance drainage systems, educate communities about precautions to take and strengthen disaster committees at village and district levels.
“In areas expected to receive above-average to average rainfall, heavy rain periods can cause floods and landslides, leading to infrastructure damage, loss of property, and harm to humans and the environment. Therefore, the Disaster Management Department is advised to continue coordinating the implementation of plans to help reduce the damages that might occur,” said Dr. Chang’a.
Dr. Chang’a, the Vice-Chairman of the International Panel on Climate Change Science (IPCC), said TMA will continue monitoring the weather systems and providing rainfall feedback as required. To meet their sector’s specific needs, stakeholders are advised to consult TMA for specific seasonal forecast information.
The fall rainy season specifically affects the northeastern highlands (Arusha, Manyara, and Kilimanjaro regions), the northern coast, including the Mafia Islands, Dar es Salaam, Tanga, Unguja, and Pemba islands, the Lake Victoria belt, and northern Kigoma.