By Frank Lukwago, New Vision/NECJOGHA
Kampala, Uganda – The Uganda National Meteorological Authority (UNMA) has predicted a reduction of rainfall in the cattle corridor among other areas.
“The rainfall forecast for this period shows a reduction of rainfall activity in Karamoja sub region and all areas bordering it, as well as those areas in the southern cattle corridor. In contrast, areas within mountain Elgon, those areas flanking Lake Albert on its eastern and southern parts, portions of West Nile sub region, Busoga sub regions are expected to experience significant rainfall activity,” says UNMA’ s dekad (10 day forecast) for the period October 10- October 20th, 2019 released on Monday.
For details refer to figure 1 below and disaggregation by regions in the country
On temperatures, UNMA says that another critical element which also has a direct bearing on all living organisms and human activities just like rainfall is temperature extremes.
“ It is important to note that the highest maximum temperatures from 30 to 32 degrees centigrade ( 0C) are expected to occur in the northern part of the country particularly in the districts of West Nile sub region and in most of areas in Acholi sub region. However, the lowest minimum temperatures of about 8 to 10 degrees centigrade are projected to occur and impact over the highest areas of the mountains of Rwenzori and Elgon. Overall, the potential areas for the lowest minimum temperatures of below 14 0C are in southern sector of the country,” UNMA says
Refer to figures 3a and 3b below for further information.
However, UNMA says that the output from the mean temperature forecast indicates that the potential areas likely to record mean daily temperatures of 220C and above, are in the districts of West Nile and Acholi sub regions. It portrays more or less a similar pattern like in the previous dekad issued last time. The contrasting feature is that some areas in Kaabong District and others still in Karamoja sub region are expected to record lower mean temperatures of below 200C.
Check for more details in figure 4 below:
Review of rainfall performance during period 1-10th October, 2019
While reviewing the past dekad, UNMA notes the following;
- Most of early October was characterised by significant rainfall activity across the entire country except in some districts of western adjacent to the southern cattle corridor which had rainfall amounts between 13.8 and 35.0 mm, being slightly lower than what was observed in late September.
- The highest amount of rainfall of 231.0mm and 157.5 mm was recorded respectively at Kitswamba weather station in Kasese District and at Kihonda weather station in Masindi District. More significant rainfall was also observed in Kitgum and Serere agromet stations which reported 152.2 and 138.6 mm in that order. About 90 percent of the weather stations recorded rainfall amount exceeding 44.0 mm with a minimum of 4 rain days.
Overall performance is shown in figure 5 below.
Temperature extremes for period 1-10th October, 2019
UNMA says that during this period slightly lower highest maximum temperatures, as compared to the previous dekad were recorded. This was to some extent on account of cloudiness which had prevailed in most parts of the country. Wadelai in Packwach District and Tororo weather stations recorded 32.60C and 31.10C respectively, whereas in low-lying areas of Kasese, 31.0 0C was observed. The extremes of the lowest minimum temperatures observed were 10.4 0C and 18.4 0C at Bulindi in Hoima District and Soroti weather stations respectively.
Impacts on Agriculture
On the impacts of the rainfall and temperature extremes, UNMA says that heavy rainfall was a prominent feature of the first ten days of October 2019 in several areas within the country. Negative implications were mudslides in Kasese and water logging in low lying areas of eastern and northern parts of the country.
UNMA concludes by giving the following advisories for the different sectors;
- The farming population of northern, eastern and north eastern is advised to construct drainage channels across and around their crop parcels for all those located in low lying areas to reduce water logging. Water logging is often associated with delayed cultivation, decay of crop roots and reduction in maturity period of crops.
- Undertake tree planting to reduce damaging impact of hailstones as well as strong winds and since this is also a source of livelihood for the rural population as trees can be sold to obtain money.
- Monitor and report any emergence of crop pests, animal parasites and plant diseases to technical staff at sub county and district.
- Farming communities in north eastern are advised to undertake harvesting of the cereals which have already reached maturity phase.
- Farming population is advised to use mosquito nets to avoid catching up malaria.
UNMA predicts reduction of rainfall in Karamoja, L.Kyoga and L. Victoria basins UNMA predicts above normal rainfall in most parts of the country