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Low rains imminent but June, July could see downpours – Meteorological Agency

Most places in the southern part of the country are likely to experience prolonged dry weather for the rest of the year,  the Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMet) has said.

Sharing this year’s rainfall pattern with the Daily Graphic in Accra yesterday,  the Deputy Director and Head of Research and Applied Meteorology at the Agency, Mrs Francisca Martey, however, observed that at the very peak of the June, July and August season, there could be heavy rains accompanied bystrong winds and lightning that could lead to localised floods.

Mitigating risk 

To help mitigate any risk, the deputy director stressed the need for the government to establish and operationalise an integrated monitoring and early warning systems for flood risk.

Furthermore, Mrs Martey said there was the need to sensitise people in the affected areas to the impending dangers while settlers in flood-prone areas should be relocated.

“The metropolitan and municipal authorities, and the National Disaster Management Organisation (NADMO) are advised to put in place the necessary measures to ensure that communities and livelihoods are safeguarded, and also promote the cultivation of hydrophilic plants (plants that absorb high amounts of water) as well as harvesting runoff water,” she said.

Still on pattern

Furthermore, she pointed out that the July, August and September season could record rainfall below what is normally expected for most places around the coast and some inland areas in the middle parts of the country.

“There is also a high probability of experiencing relatively long dry spells at the beginning and towards the end of the season and most seasonal crops in these places will be water-stressed and likely not to do well or at best give poor yield,” she said.

The condition, she said, would also have a negative impact on the management of dams and irrigational facilities.

“The water levels of the irrigational dams and small river bodies over the south will reduce because of the low rainfall expected and high evaporation rate likely to be experienced,” she said.

As a result, she advised farmers who would want to plant their crops around this time to go in for early maturing and drought-tolerant crops to avert mass failures of the crops.

“If the below normal rainfall forecasted persists, there is the likelihood that it will impact livestock production, especially cattle, since there will be little pasture for the animals,” she said.

Bush fires

In the face of a long dry spell risk in especially areas around the middle belt of the country, she said the government must step up education and sensitisation of the people on the likelihood of bush fires.

“Liaise with national meteorological, agricultural and hydrological experts for information and advice to provide relief to affected areas and support the most vulnerable in the affected areas to pursue alternative livelihoods such as market facilitation and small-scale cottage industries such as weaving and pot-making,” she urged the government.

Forecast

For the upcoming rainy seasons, Mrs Martey said early onset dates were expected over most places in the Upper East and Upper West regions as well as some few places in the North East and Savannah regions while the rest of the country would experience near normal onset dates.

On dry spells, she said at the beginning of the June-August rainy season, an early dry spell was expected to be between seven and 10 days for most places in the southern part of the country, while the East Coast and most parts of the North would experience between 10 and 12 days of dry spell.

“At the later stages of the season, after the 50th day to the end of the season, nine to 12 days of dry spell are expected over most parts of the forest areas,” she said.

 “About 15 to 19 days of dry spell are expected to occur around the coastal and most places in the northern part of the country,” the deputy director added.

As to when the rains will stop, she said normal cessation dates were forecasted for most places in the southern part while most places in the northern part of the country were expected to experience late cessation of rain.

Source: Graphic Online

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