Weatherman cautions of more severe rains

Vehicles and people wade through a flooded street during heavy rains on Kinamba-Gakiriro-Kagugu road in Gasabo District in Kigali on January 28, 2020. The road was impassable for the better part of Tuesday evening due to flooding that left people stranded for hours on either side of the road. Photo: Emmanuel Kwizera

Different parts of the country were characterized by day-long rains, which in the afternoon turned heavy, at least in Kigali, flooding different parts of the capital.

The heavy rains, occasioned by strong winds, were predicted by Rwanda Meteorology Agency in an alert issued on Monday evening, in which it said several parts of the country will experience the downpour until February 1.

 

The weatherman warned that the rains would be much more intense in the districts that border Nyungwe Forest in Western and Southern provinces.

 

The expected rainfall will measure between 25 and 50 millimeters, reads part of the notice.

 

Strong wind is expected in Eastern Province, mainly in districts of Rwamagana, Kayonza, Ngoma, Kirehe and Bugesera, blowing at the expected speed of between 5 and 10 metres per second.

The forecast cites convergence of winds and increased moisture over the region as the factors to influence the weather.

Speaking to The New Times, Mathieu Mbati Mugungu, the agency’s Division Manager of Weather and Climate Service and Application, said the wind expected in Eastern Province might cause some damage owing to the region’s topography. 

“In a flat landscape such as the eastern part of Rwanda, strong winds might be dangerous. There is likelihood of it sweeping away crops in farms and blow off weak roofings for some houses,” said Mugungu.

As the cited zones are usually prone to such disasters, Mugungu urged residents to avoid flood-friendly rivers and places likely to experience landslides such as sloppy and wet highlands.

“People should take usual precautions such as strengthening their roofs, heed to local leaders’ advice and call upon concerned agencies like Red Cross and MINEMA [the Ministry of Emergency Management] in case of emergencies,” advised Mugungu.

The weather warning comes as part of the seasonal forecast that predicted more rains in the first three months of the year than the previous years.

Released early January, the outlook forecasted “a chance of above-normal and normal rains over most parts of the country,” especially the southwestern Rwanda.

The forecast warned of rainfall ranging between 400-500 millimetres, citing increased water temperature in the Indian Ocean and cloud convergence over the region.

Infrastructure at risk

Meanwhile, in an earlier interview with The New Times, Mugunga had warned utility bodies about the likely negative impact on the different infrastructure.

“People in charge of road construction should keep in mind that soil will still be wet, and carry out concrete projects so that even the slightest rain does not destroy everything.”

The meteorology agency reminded the Water and Sanitation Authority (WASAC), that they should be ready to conserve the rainwater because it will be needed in the following, dry season when water is normally scarce.

During last December’s rains, all water processing plants in the country were down for more than 48 hours due to extreme turbidity, causing water shortage mainly in the capital.

editor@newtimesrwanda.com

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