Rainfall Figures Show Scale of Drought

THE past rainy season has been the worst on record in more than 80 years for Grootfontein, new rainfall figures released by the Namibia Meteorological Service indicate.

The total quantity of 229 millimetres of rain recorded at the Grootfontein weather station during the 201415 rainy season is the lowest seasonal total on record for that station since 1933, the Meteorological Service says in a summary of Namibia’s just-ended rainy season that was released last week.

The Met Service’s final monthly rainfall bulletin for the 201415 rainy season confirms that most parts of Namibia – some areas in the south being the exception – are experiencing drought for the second year in three years. However, in most places the drought appears to be less severe than the one that followed on the failed 201213 rainy season.

At Grootfontein, the seasonal total of 229 mm measured from October last year to the end of April this year is about 59% lower than the Otjozondjupa town’s normal seasonal total of 557 mm.

With the Met Service’s rainfall statistics for Grootfontein starting in 1917 – but hampered by a gap in the records from 1977 to 1988 – the available figures show that the quantity of rain measured at the town this past rainy season is the lowest on the official record since the 193233 rainy season, during which a seasonal total of 199,9 mm was recorded.

During the 201213 rainy season, which rang in the drought of 2013, 314,4 mm of rain was recorded at Grootfontein.

The gap in the town’s official rainfall records include several years of drought in most of Namibia during the 1980s.

At Mururani, situated between Grootfontein and Rundu, the past rainy season has also been a bigger failure than the 201213 season. A seasonal rainfall total of 451 mm can normally be expected at Mururani, according to the Met Service’s figures, but this past season a total of 180,4 mm (60% below the normal seasonal total) was recorded there. In the 201213 rainy season, 247 mm was recorded at Mururani.

A seasonal total of 445,4 mm was recorded at Rundu from October last year to the end of April, compared to 565,6 mm in a normal rainy season. During the below-average 201213 rainy season, Rundu received 461 mm of rain.

Katima Mulilo received 543 mm of rain this past season, compared to 512 mm in 201213 and a normal seasonal total of 653,6 mm.

At Ondangwa, where 448,5 mm of rain can be expected during an average rainy season, a seasonal total of 319,5 mm was recorded this year. Ondangwa received 312,8 mm of rain during the 201213 rainy season.

The rainy season has also disappointed in the north-west of the country. At Opuwo, where an average of about 300 mm of rain falls during a normal season, only 135,5 mm was measured this year, while 137 mm was recorded at Khorixas, which receives 202,4 mm during a normal wet season.

A total of about 282 mm was recorded at the Met Service’s headquarters in Windhoek from October last year to the end of the season, compared to about 355 mm in a normal rainy season and the 201213 seasonal total of 166 mm, which was the lowest in 31 years.

At Rehoboth, a total of 117 mm was measured during the past rainy season, which is less than half the average total of 238,7 mm of rain the town receives during a normal rainy season. In the 201213 season, though, only 72,4 mm was recorded at Rehoboth.

In the south, Gibeon has received an above-average seasonal total of 252,8 mm – 71% more than its normal total of 147,6 mm – while 273,6 mm of rain has been recorded at Keetmanshoop during the 201415 season (80% more than the town’s normal seasonal rainfall of 152,4 mm).

The 363 mm recorded at Leonarille – situated between Gobabis and Aranos – this past rainy season also surpasses the average seasonal total of 263,6 mm at that location.

Like most of Namibia, the far south-east of the country is also facing drought. At Ariamsvlei, where 110 mm of rain is recorded during an average season, only about 43 mm fell during the 201415 season, the official figures show.

Source : The Namibian