By Gerald Tenywa
KAMPALA - The rainy season is expected to be favourable to all parts of the country except in the north-east and Mt. Elgon region, according to top government weather experts.
Michael Nkalubo, the commissioner in charge of the Meteorology Department said the country should expect rains favourable to agriculture and generation of hydro-electric power.
“Most parts of the country will have normal to above normal rainfall,” said Nkalubo, adding that north eastern Uganda (Karamoja) is likely to have below normal rains.
While the rain season is expected to favour economic growth, it could also impose perilous conditions on the people living in the districts sitting on the slopes of Mt. Elgon in the east.
“It is good that government has taken a decision to buy land and relocate people living in the hilly areas,” said Nkalubo, explaining that steep slopes are prone to erosion and landslides particularly in heavily populated areas like Bududa.
Other areas facing negative impacts are low-lying areas including the reclaimed wetlands of Kampala that often flood in the rainy season. The north eastern parts of the country are to receive below normal rains.
In a separate interview, Deus Bamanya said the weather forecast is for up to November and that another weather forecast will be released later in September to cover the rest of the year and early next year.
“If El Nino develops the rain goes to December and January,” said Bamanya, adding that experts in the region were still monitoring the changes in the Pacific Ocean that influences the rains in the region.
Asked to explain the prolonged rains that have covered the months of July and August which are often dry months, Bamanya pointed out that the “enhanced rain” was predicted in earlier forecasts.
“The rain-making conditions [Inter Tropical Convergence Zone] and the winds blowing towards the East African region have contributed to enhanced rains.”
Bamanya advised farmers to plant long-maturing crops such as rice, maize, millet and cassava. He also pointed out that farmers should construct soil conservation measures and also clear drains.
In parts of Kampala where flooding occurred after showers of rain for three days, the residents in reclaimed wetlands are likely to suffer more than their counterparts in better drained areas, according to Bamanya.
“The city authorities have to do a lot more about people staying in the low lying areas,” he said, adding that a meeting is being organised on Wednesday for the development actors to understand the implications of the weather forecast and to suggest measures to address them.
The meeting is being organised ahead of the official release of the weather forecast on Thursday expected to be presided over by Ephraim Kamuntu, the Minister of Water and Environment.
A brief about the weather forecast and implications:
- Central Uganda and Eastern-The rain season is already established and the rain is expected to be steady
- South western Uganda-The peak is expected towards end of Sept and early October
- Mt. Elgon to receive heavy rain and separate weather forecast being prepared
- Pests (such as ticks and worms) and water borne diseases (cholera, diarrhea) expected to increase.