By Luganda David, AFMC/NECJOGHA
Kampala, Uganda – The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has predicted above normal rainfall over most parts of Uganda.
The areas expected to receive above normal rainfall include Northern Uganda, Karamoja, Eastern Uganda, Lake Victoria basin and South Western Uganda. However, the rest of the country is expected to receive near normal rainfall.
This was in the downscaling workshop of the September – October-November-December (SOND) 2019 rainfall at the Essella Country Resort Hotel on Wednesday. UNMA will on Friday September 6th release a detailed weather forecast at Uganda Media Centre.
According to UNMA early onset of rainfall in most parts of the country is expected. However, the rains will impact both positively and negatively on the population.
The positive impacts include; higher yields especially for crops with higher water demands such as bananas, coffee, paddy rice, and increased water flow into the ponds and increased natural food in the lakes.
Meanwhile, UNMA says the negative impacts include increased incidences of pests and diseases, destruction of crops due to hailstorms, floods, winds and high post harvest losses due to limited sunshine for drying. Others are increased soil erosion, flash floods, landslides and mudslides may occur in the mountainous areas of Kigezi, Rwenzori and Elgon sub region, road and marine accidents.
Dr Deus Bamanya the Director Applied Meteorology, Data and Climate services at UNMA said that they produce one of the best forecasts in the whole world because all the 13 World Meteorological Organization centres responsible for long-range forecasts are involved.
The executive director UNMA, Dr. Festus Luboyera said that the forecast is promising because the country is going to receive a lot of rain.
“When you look at the map there is a lot of rain which means most areas are going to receive rain which is promising,” Luboyera said.
UNMA then gives advisories for the different sectors during this rainfall season:
Water resource management and energy sector
- Communities are advised to desilt and open community drainage systems. (Bulungibwansi).
- In case of flash floods, do not cross roads when the water levels have risen. Wait for the flood to subside.
- In case of damages to bridges, culverts and other infrastructure like power lines, warning signs should be put in place to fore-warn the public before they get to the site and concerned authorities must be informed immediately.
- Settlements in low lying areas should be cautious of high intensity rainfall events.
- Install water harvesting facilities at household and institutional levels
- Signs of landslides like cracks in the ground should be reported to the authorities in the district.
- Communities should avoid degrading of river banks and lake shores. However, they are encouraged to plant trees that are able to hold soils firm like ficus, mangrove, and bamboo among others along river banks to ensure more stable river banks in the long run.
- Communities are advised to avoid cultivating in wetlands so as to maintain the ecological importance of these wetlands as water catchment areas and also limit potential loss that may occur as a result of floods destroying the crops.
- Control water pollution e.g. not to release raw waste water into rivers and streams.
- Water treatment before consumption is necessary.
Advisories for crop sector
- Timely planting at the onset of rainfall (start planting by early September)
- Plant improved higher yielding varieties e.g. Longe maize series, NABE bean series, etc.
- Stagger/relay planting of short cycle crops.
- Plant longer maturing crops such as cassava at the start of the season.
- Apply good agronomical practices (GAPs) like timely weeding, proper spacing of crops, thinning, and timely harvesting.
- Soil and water conservation practices e.g. contour bands, grass bands, trenches, water harvesting for use in drier periods and irrigation in times of dry spells
Bee keeping sector
- Plant more flowering crops around the apiaries to anticipate peak honey production in December 2019 to February 2020.
- Provide shades to shelter beehives against the weather.
- Set more beehives for increased production.
- Controlled use of pesticides i.e. avoid neonicotinoid pesticides like imidacloprid, thiamethoxam.
- Use of more efficient beehives (Kenyan Top Bar) and relocate bee hives to higher and drier ground
Health sector advisories
- Continued enhanced surveillance of all the diseases (malaria, schistomiasis- bilharzia, typhoid and cholera).
- Health education about the possible outbreaks and how to avoid the diseases.
- Early and wide dissemination plus interpretation of this forecast in a simple language to the healthy system.
- Good fore casting of malaria commodities including the buffer stocks.
- Blood mobilisation campaigns
- Timely dissemination of the seasonal forecast.
- Regular updates i.e. 6 hourly forecasts, 10 days updates, and monthly updates.
Watch videos from the workshop
Dr Deus Bamanya the Director Applied Meteorology, Data and Climate services at UNMA remarks.
The executive director UNMA, Dr. Festus Luboyera’s remarks at the workshop