Rains that fell in Harare yesterday left some roads virtually impassable due to poor drainage. Here, pedestrians cross a flooded intersection of Simon Muzenda Street and Robert Mugabe Road. — Picture: Kudakwashe Hunda

Elita Chikwati

Agriculture Reporter

Significantly higher rainfall continues to fall throughout the country with most areas already surpassing 300mm, says the Meteorological Services Department in a mid-season outlook which further predicts, normal to above normal rains over the next three months.

But farmers and others need to take note of the Met Department’s agricultural meteorologist Mr Benjamin Kwenda’s warning that risks of flooding were increasing as soils were being soaked while the spillage of dams could result in flooding.

Water supplies has improved and this has resulted in good crop conditions across most areas although there are now fears of water logging and leaching in some areas.

“We are expecting the rains to continue throughout the country. Traditionally January, February and March experience higher rainfall amounts than the first part of the season. So the likely implications in agriculture are that there is a higher likelihood of leaching of nutrients hence split application of fertilizers is encouraged,” he said.

“Water-logging is also expected especially for those areas with poor drainage and wetlands. Flooding incidents are also highly likely due to either dam spillages or increased runoff from the surface. This is because in most places the soil is quite soaked already.

“We are expecting hazards associated with predominantly high rainfall such as flooding because much of the soil in most places is soaked.”

According to the mid-season rainfall outlook, October 1 to December 31 in this season showed significantly more rain than the same three months in the last season.

As in all above normal seasons, heavy storms are getting more frequent.

“Due to the significant rainfall amounts that were recorded across most parts of the country during the first half of the season (October to December), it is important to be on watch for flood-related disasters during the second half but also take measures to conserve and store water.

“The policies of small dam construction, borehole drilling or deepening rehabilitation of irrigation schemes conservation and protection of wetlands should continue,” read the document.

The rainfall season started around the second and third weeks of November for most parts of the country.

Some significant rainfall amounts had been received by October last year but these were followed by a period of very hot and dry weather causing dryland farmers who planted early to replant in many cases.

The season so far has seen some heavy storms recording more than 50 mm in 24 hours in several places. In some places such as Mhondoro, Gokwe, Kanyemba and Chishawasha, the rainfall amounts recorded in a period of 24 hours have even exceeded 100mm triggering some temporary flooding.

Meanwhile, farmers have been encouraged to continue planting short season varieties.

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