Scientists: Heavy Rainfall To Pound Uganda

healing geneva;”>March to May (MAM) constitutes the first major rainfall season in Uganda.

Minister Ephraim Kamuntu said following the conclusion of the 33rd Climate Outlook Forum for the Greater Horn of Africa held in Bujumbura, Burundi from February 18 to 20 2013, scientists concluded “overall, there is an increased likelihood of near normal to above normal rainfall (more rain than usual) over most parts of Uganda.”

Kamuntu told press in Kampala on Thursday the international, regional and national scientists reviewed the state of the global climate systems and their implications on the seasonal climate of the sub-region including the influence of sea surface temperature anomalies over the tropical Pacific, Atlantic and Indian Oceans on the evolution of rainfall in the GHA region.

Guidance products from the World Meteorological Organisation’s Global Producing Centres and other seasonal climate prediction centres were also assessed.


These inputs were combined using expert analysis and interpretation to obtain forecast probabilities for the evolution of regional rainfall during the period March to May 2013.

“It was observed that the major physical conditions that are likely to influence the Uganda’s weather for the forecast period of March to May 2013 are current neutral ENSO conditions over tropical Pacific Ocean; prevailing low and medium level atmospheric circulation and monsoonal wind systems; and the influence of the emerging cooler than average sea surface temperatures over much of the western Indian ocean,” said Kamuntu.

Based on the above considerations as well as details of the climatology, scientific tools for climate analysis, and the physical features of the different regions of the country, Department of Meteorology, Ministry of Water and Environment, says Eastern Uganda will bear the brunt of heavy rains.

“The region is currently experiencing on and off dry spells which are likely to continue to the end of February thereafter irregular rains are likely to set in and continue up to around mid March when the onset of steady rains is expected,” observed Kamuntu.

“The peak of the seasonal rains is expected around early April through early May. The cessation is expected around early June. Overall, this region has a high chance of receiving near normal rains.”

The Ministry observed high chances that the rainfall performance over several places in the country is expected to be near normal to above normal.

It noted that areas expected to receive below normal rainfall does not mean that they will not receive rainfall at all. It means that they will receive rainfall below the long term mean.

“It should also be noted that localised episodic flash flood events may also be observed in areas that are expected to receive below normal rainfall as a result of sporadic heavy down pours. Similarly, poor rainfall distribution may occur in localised areas expected to receive above normal rainfall,” said the Minister.

In general, the occurrence of the good rainfall performance is likely to have some implications on various socio-economic activities.

The positive potential impacts include good crop performance and improved food production in cropping areas and in pastoral areas increased pasture and water for animals.

However, according to the Ministry, many parts of the country have had normal to above normal rains during the last rainy season (September to December 2012) which had a positive effect on food production in several places.

Kamuntu said the predicted rains require action in sufficient time and in an appropriate manner so as to take advantage of the anticipated rains.

“This product should be used for improvement of economic welfare and livelihoods for all our communities in their localities.”

The ministry has taken a further step of translating this forecast into seven (7) different local languages for audio and text messages including among others; Luganda, Lusoga, Runyakitara, Luo, Ateso, Adhola and Nga’Karimojong which will be disseminated to communities in different parts of the country mainly using local radios.

Below is the technical advice to Ugandans during the rainy season

March up to May 2013 season is expected to be a long rainy period and therefore, farmers are advised to do the following:

Start land clearing and preparation

Plant long maturing crops like millet, rice, sorghum, maize, cassava, sweet potatoes on the start of rains and short quick maturing crops later on ( beans, tomatoes, vegetables etc) as rains progress;

Pruning of crops like fruit trees (avocado, apples, mangoes, oranges), bananas and coffee trees should be undertaken;

Construction of drainage and diversion channels on crop plots in case of heavy rains;

Put in place soil conservation structures to prevent soil erosion for those on slopes and highlands;

Guard against crop pests and diseases which are likely to be common;

Planting of pastures can be undertaken including the improvement of the existing ones;

For livestock, guard against tick-borne diseases, worms and tsetse fly control

De-silt ponds and clear water ways to harvest water for animals

For Fisheries, there should be proper maintenance of fish ponds

Advise farmers to undertake planting of trees during the good rains to act as windbreakers in future and protecting the environment.

In case of North Eastern Uganda, farmers are advised:-

Plant early maturing crops;

Handle drying and storage of harvested crops very well;

Harvest root tube crops (cassava, sweet potatoes) to avoid damage by heavy rains.

(2) Disaster Risk Reduction

Floods advisories

Resettling people from flood prone areas

Construct flood proof houses (Raise basements of foundations, put water proof floors)

Construct proper drainage systems around the homesteads and gardens

Intensify patrols where floods displace wild animals especially in Nakapiripirit

Communities living around national parks are advised to report displacement of animals

De-silt drainage channels especially in Urban areas

Landslides advisory

Identify and report any cracks to the authorities

Relocate to safer areas

Lightning advisory

Communities should be sensitised to put on rubber shoes

Avoid contact with metallic objects while raining

Installation of lightning arrestors on buildings(Schools, hospitals)

Avoid sheltering under trees

Epidemics advisory

Sensitisation of communities on hygiene

Drinking clean water

Need to have latrines

Need to increase health surveillance

(3) Water, Energy and Power generation Advisories

Water harvesting should be stepped up at house hold level to take advantage of the abundant water for use in drier times

People should avoid taking contaminated water

People living in hilly areas and carrying out cultivation should take heed.

Soil and water conservation should be encouraged

Heavy siltation of water resources like rivers, lakes, and dams where there is minimal vegetation cover

People should take heed of likely episodes of flooding in low land areas and river bank bursts

(4) Health Advisories

Increase disease surveillance due to expected upsurges of epidemics of malaria and waterborne diseases (Cholera, typhoid and bilharzia)

Need for heath education and awareness campaigns

Need to have the necessary standby drugs at the districts

Need for contingency planning

(5) Infrastructure and Works Advisories

Enhance clearing of drainage systems and step up maintenance of roads especially in Urban centres

Preposition of the maintenance logistics (e.g. bull dozers) for repair of bridges that may become submerged or washed away due to flash floods and also landslides which may cause road blockages

Strong/violent winds may be experienced that can cause structural damages to buildings (blow off rooftops and collapse of poorly constructed buildings).

Finalise critical work on infrastructure that is affected by rain.

Installation of lightning arrestors on public buildings (schools, hospitals) and also in homes.

Put aside a contingency fund.

Local Councils should mobilise communities for carrying out “bulungibwansi”.

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