The rainy season expected to continue

Widespread moderate to very heavy rains are expected to continue through much of the region next week, according to a regional forecast issued this week.

The forecasters in a report released by the Famine Early Warning Systems Network (FEWNET), warn that the rains are expected to come with associated risk of flooding in Kenya, eastern Uganda, rift valley regions of Ethiopia and southern Somalia.

It says during the next seven days, heavy rainfall is forecast over much of Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, Rwanda, Burundi, and southern and central Somalia.

During the second half of the forecast period, rainfall is expected to become less widespread and will be concentrated over southwestern and eastern Ethiopia, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, coastal Kenya, and northern and coast.

The report says rainfall has been above average over broad areas of Somalia, eastern and southern Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, and Burundi.  It observes that initial satellite-derived estimates suggest rainfall since late March has been as much as 200 percent of average across many areas.

The observers say favorable seasonal performance over the past 30 days has contributed to a continuation of timely and well-distributed rains that had already resulted in seasonal rainfall surpluses across much of the region.

“Overall, seasonal rainfall totals in excess of 150 percent of average have been observed across much of the region, though poor performance has been observed in parts of northern Ethiopia.” it said.

In the short-term, forecasts suggest heavy rainfall is likely to continue over the next week in much of the region, which should further strengthen rainfall surpluses in many areas, and may reduce rainfall deficits in parts of northern Ethiopia.

The forecast adds, rainfall is expected to continue in early May but become relatively less widespread and will be concentrated over southwestern and eastern Uganda, Rwanda, Ethiopia, Burundi, coastal, central and western Kenya, and northern and coastal Tanzania.

In Uganda, the forecast says following a timely onset of seasonal rainfall in March, cumulative rainfall totals are above average.  It says during the past 30 days, rainfall has been near average through much of the country.



The rain season hasn’t started ,Meteorological Authority warns farmers

The National Meteorological Authority has cautioned farmers against planting new crops with slight isolated rains being experienced in the central and eastern parts of the country.

The Authority’s Director in Charge of Observations Paul Isabirye says rains being experienced in areas around Lake Victoria Basin and parts of eastern Uganda are not the start of the rain season.

Isabirye explains that the rain around Lake Victoria and Eastern Uganda are a result of some systems in surface temperatures which cannot hang on for a very long time.
He says the overall picture indicates that dry conditions are going to continue during the month of February with some intermittent rains in the Lake Victoria Basin, South- Western parts of the country.

Some parts of Eastern Uganda will continue to be dry in February with some rains expected around mid-month in mountainous areas.
Dry conditions persisted across the country with exception of two isolated cases, within Lake Victoria Basin, and South western region which had marginal wet conditions.

The highest amount of rainfall recorded during this period was 12.8 mm recorded in a single day at Kituza Coffee research station in Mukono district followed by 7.1mm recorded at Kabale station.
According to Isabirye, the hazy and windy conditions are expected to continue prevailing over the country.

The current drought in in Uganda and its neighbors has been blamed on La Niña. The La Niña condition has had a devastating effect on crop production, livestock body conditions, and is already trigger water conflicts in Teso, Lango with their Karimojong neighbors.

La Niña increases the likelihood of both above-average and below-average rainfall in certain areas of eastern Africa.

La Niña causes opposite conditions to those associated with El Niño: areas now experiencing drought are likely to face flooding, and areas that have seen excessive rainfall are likely to experience drought.

Fortunately, the La Niña condition is in dying condition according to Paul Isabirye.

The next weather forecast is expected to be announced next week after the Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GACOF) meeting in Ethiopia. Wether experts from Uganda, Kenya and other Inter-Governmental Authority on Development(IGAD) member states will come out with detailed predictions for the region and individual countries.

Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GACOF) is being organized at a time when La Niña related impacts are being experienced and are predicted to persist during the first quarter of 2017 for some countries.

This La Niña event was preceded by a very strong El Niño event in 2015/16. The impacts of the 2016/17 La Niña and other major global and regional climate systems will be addressed in at the 45th session Great Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum.





Heavy rains leave many in Ibanda homeless

A heavy down pour has left a trail of destruction in Kicuzi Sub County in Ibanda district. Twenty households are homeless after their houses were destroyed by the heavy rain that pounded the sub county for close to five hours on Wednesday.
The rain also destroyed Irimya police post injuring three people critically. They include Juliet Ampire, Ketty Ampaire and her 2- year- old child.  They were rushed to Ishaka Adventist and Kyamuhunga Hospitals respectively.  The most affected residents are from Kitooma, Rwenzigye, Ryakazo, Karuhisi villages.
John Tushemereirwe, the Kacuzi Sub county LC V councilor, says the rain started on Tuesday at 2pm and stopped before resuming in the wee hours of Wednesday morning. Fred Baryaija is one of the residents who lost their houses in the rain. According to Baryaija, in addition to losing his property, where his entire property was lost, his banana plantation is no more because of the heavy destruction.
Denis Ocama, the Ibanda District Police Commander, says they are hunting for the suspects who took advantage of the destruction of the police post to escape from lawful custody. The duo had been locked up in Police post for theft. Melechuides Kazwengye, the Ibanda LC V chairperson, says the district has dispatched a team to the area to the affected assess the magnitude of the damage.
According to Kazwengye, the district intends to petition the primate minister’s office for intervention due to lack of funds to support the disaster victims.



Lightening strikes two inmates to death

Lightning has struck dead two inmates and injured three others at Buzaya prison in Kamuli district.

Michael Kasadha, the Busoga North Police spokesperson, identifies the dead as 20-year-old Emmanuel Wambi and 18-year-old Denis Ngobi.

Two of the survivors who are admitted at Kamuli main hospital are Katakuwange Waiswa and Fred Muyingo. According to Kasadha, the thunderbolt hit the Prison cells at 5pm on Tuesday, killing the two inmates and injuring three others seriously.

By the time of filing this story, the bodies of the dead inmates were still at Kamuli main hospital mortuary.


Three dead as wall collapses due to heavy rains

Three people died on Thursday and four others injured after a wall collapsed on them in Makindye division.  The five had gone to work at  Salama Badong, when the wall caved in following the Thursday morning’s heavy down pour.

Patrick Onyango the Kampala metropolitan spokesperson says police managed to rescue four people who were rushed to Mulago hospital for treatment. Onyango adds that four other people are still missing and feared dead.  He says they have so far recovered body parts including arms and legs of the missing persons.

Heavy rains interrupt polls in Nwoya, Gulu

Heavy rains have disrupted early voting in Gulu and Nwoya district. The rains started pounding both district at 8:30 am forcing both the polling officials and voters to abandon the exercise and look for shelter.

The rains affected almost all the polling centers in Gulu municipality and 13 in Awach Sub County, since they are in the open. Timothy Jok-kene, the Gulu Municipality, NRM party parliamentary candidate, says the heavy rains will affect the outcome of the voting exercise as many voters are still stuck in their homes.

He however, says besides the rain, everything is going on smoothly. In Nwoya district, the rains started as early as 6am stalling the polling exercise at most polling station. Santa Aber, a resident of Lalar parish and voter at Lalar primary school, says the rains came as a surprise given this part of the year.

According to Aber, the surprise rains are a big sign of something greater that is most likely to happen in the country, given the wide cry for change. She vowed to do everything possible to cast her vote. David Asasi, a resident and voter at Alero Division polling station B in Alero Sub County, says besides the rains, the polling officials delayed to kick start the voting exercise.

According to Asasi, despite the fact that some voters arrived at their polling stations by 6:30am, the exercise didn’t start until after 8am. Geoffrey onekalit, the Alero Sub county LC 3 chairman, blamed the delayed polling on the allocation of a single vehicle to serve the entire district. By 9:00 most polling stations in the sub county hadn’t yet been set up and not voting material had arrived.


Mudslides leave Ibanda residents homeless

More than 40 residents in the western town Ibanda were left in the cold after mudslides washed away their homesteads. The most affected are living on the slopes of Kyereeta Hill. The floods were triggered by Monday and Tuesday heavy down pour that destroyed several acres of banana plantations, beans and maize gardens.   Animals including goats, chicken and ducks were killed by the floods. The area LC 1 Chairperson  Emmanuel Tumwine says the floods bust banks of river Kyereeta, washing away the only reliable bridge that connects Rugaaga and Katookye parishes respectively.