Uganda To Experience Normal Rains This Season



A report released Monday by the Uganda National Meteorological Authority predicts normal rains over much of the country this season.

It warns farmers to also guard against tick-borne diseases and worms, and for those on slopes and highlands to put in place soil conservation structures to prevent soil erosion.

According to the report, ?the onset of seasonal rains is expected to be characterized by severe thunderstorms and hailstorms over isolated parts of the country?.

Although the Western region is also likely to have near normal rains like other parts of the country, the report says that the onset of the seasonal rains in the region is likely to be characterized by violent winds and hailstorms.

Consequently, environment state minister Flavia Munaaba cautioned the residents and local leaders to plan accordingly as the winds may be destructive to crops and other properties.

Disastrous winds and hailstorms are not unusual in Western Uganda in Mbarara and neighbouring areas.

In mid-February, 2007, Mbarara looked like a European winter landscape an unusually heavy hailstorm ravaged banana plantations, cassava and potato gardens in Kashaka, Kashaari county

Trading centres, forests and hillsides were covered for hours with carpets of ice stones that looked like snow, causing food shortages.

Releasing the meteorological report at the Uganda Media Centre in Kampala, Munaaba urged farmers to construct drainage and diversion channels on crop plots and parcels plant long maturing crops on the start of rains.

Such crops include millet, cassava, maize, rice, sorghum and sweet potatoes among others.

Most parts of the Lake Victoria Basin and central regions are currently receiving intermittent light showers which are expected to continue up to late March when the onset of steady rains is expected to get established.

The region includes all districts in Buganda. ?The onset of seasonal rains in this region is expected to be accompanied by strong and destructive winds as well as hailstorms,? Munaaba explained.

?Thereafter, rains are expected to intensify with the peak seasonal rains occurring mid-April. The cessation is expected around early to mid-June 2015. Overall, there are high chances of near normal rainfall over this region.?

Eastern Uganda, including Busoga and Teso areas, will continue receiving isolated light showers until the third week of March when steady rains are expected to kick off.

The report shows that peak rains in the region will also start around mid-April. Moderate relaxation of rainfall is expected mid-June.

The same applies to most parts of northern Uganda. Unlike the central and eastern region, season rains in northern Uganda will be interrupted by short-lived dry spells and moderate relaxation of rains expected around mid-June.

Karamoja region, where residents still changing from solely depending on nomadic pastoralism to also go into farming, is likely to receive deficient rainfall this season, according to the report.

Consequently, some of the hazards associated with prolonged dry conditions are likely to continue over some parts of Karamoja region.

By Francis Kagolo, The New Vision

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