Zimbabwe receives significant rain in most parts of the country

by The Herald
(24th November 2011)

MOST parts of the country received significant rains on Monday, bringing relief to farmers and cooling temperatures after a persistent heat wave.

In Harare, the rains continued yesterday.

However, the Meteorological Services Department could not give exact dates of the onset and cessation of the rainy season.

Met Department senior meteorological officer Mr Jonathan Chifuna yesterday said Masvingo recorded the highest rainfall measuring 95mm on Monday.

Plumtree got 64mm, Beitbridge 48mm, Hwange 40mm, Victoria Falls 38mm, Tsholotsho 29mm and Kezi 25mm.

He said a cloud band that moved into the western parts of the country from the west last Saturday resulted in showers at the weekend.

"Notable falls were recorded at Matopos with 31mm and Bulawayo Goetz Observatory with 25mm. As from Monday, the cloud band moved to cover the whole country and this resulted in moderate to heavy falls across the country," he said.

The current cloud system that was over the country was expected to persist up to November 30 with heavy falls expected on December 1 and 2, marking the beginning of the wet season. "Pressure rises over the southeast of the sub region should cause convergence across the country from Thursday to Friday, resulting in heavy falls," he said.

Mr Chifuna said the rains will be mostly confined to the south of the main watershed areas such as Masvingo, Matabeleland South, South of Midlands and Bulawayo.

"These rains are expected to be around 50mm in 24 hours," he said.

Zimbabwe expects a normal rainfall season during the 2011/12 cropping season.

The first half of the season, which covers October, November and December, is expected to have normal rains with a bias towards below normal rains, while the second half (January, February and

March) is expected to have normal rains with a bias towards above normal.

Meanwhile, farmers across the country are busy with land preparations and buying inputs.

In Masvingo, farmers were upbeat that the drought-prone province had a good start.

A survey by The Herald yesterday showed that communal farmers in Gutu, Zaka and Bikita had already planted maize with rains received three weeks ago.

"We are happy that the rains have finally come because we were worried that our maize crop might not germinate well after we planted using the first rains that disappeared soon after that. The rains have brought relief to us and we are very excited," said Mr Solomon Chinaka from Mupinga Village in Gutu.

Some parts of Manicaland Province that traditionally record bumper harvests have received a fair share of rains.

Planting is progressing well in areas such as Headlands, Mayo, Chiendambuya, Nyazura, Rusape, Odzi, Osborne, Honde Valley, Chimanimani and parts of Chipinge and Nyanga district.

However, drier and low-lying areas such as Buhera, Lowveld, Marange and parts of Makoni, Nyanga and Mutasa districts have received some light showers and soil moisture was insufficient for planting.

Manicaland Agritex officer Mr Godfrey Mamhare yesterday (today) said there has not been uniformity in the rainfall patterns throughout the province.

"The rains have not fully covered the whole of Manicaland, and the situation is promising in those areas that are perennially known for receiving normal to above rains. The drier parts of the province,

which comprise the bulky of our communal areas has not received any rains to date, and no meaningful progress has been made in so far as planting is concerned," Mr Mamhare.

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