By Awa B. Bah

The 2018 rainy season is expected to start after June 15 in the Eastern Half or Upper and Central River Regions of the country, according to weather forecasters at the department of Water Resources.

The statement added that after June 25 the Western Half or Greater Banjul Area, North Bank and Lower River Regions, will also expect likewise. The cessation of rainfall he said is expected after the 10th of October for the Eastern Half and after 15th October for the Western Half of the country.

The statement asserted that Department of Water Resources (DWR) in collaboration with the Meteorological Services in the Sub-Region, has been producing rainfall forecast since 1998. It opined that the evaluation results produced over the years, has given some reasonable high degree of accuracy, for the consumption of beneficiaries.

Earlier this year, Meteorology and Hydrology experts together with the DWR from Member States, came together at a prediction forum to prepare a consensus rainfall and river flow forecast, for the sub region.

As part of it responsibility for the wider circulation of the information to relevant stakeholders, the DWR on Tuesday June 5th, engaged the National Disaster Management Agency (NDMA), at its office in Kanifing.

Being the agency assigned to focus mainly on rescue, relief, rehabilitation and mitigation of disaster with emphasis on state-centric approaches, the forum was aimed at enhancing preparedness against climate hazards as well as harness favourable outcomes associated with the respective sectors.

In his presentation, Tijani Bojang, Chief Forecast Officer at the DWR, said the facilitation of the forecast results is because of the collaboration with the National Meteorological Services within the Sub-region and beyond; that seasonal forecasting relies on prediction of averages over a space and time and may not reflect all the various factors that influence regional and national climate differences; that the forecast is relevant only for the entire season and within relatively large areas since local and month-to month variations may occur.

The Rainfall results Bojang said, are usually expressed as being either below normal, normal, or above normal, with Normal rainfall defined as the average rainfall during a 30-year period; that the forecast is only valid for the combined period of July, August and September (JAS), which constitute approximately 80 per cent of the total seasonal rainfall precipitation, in the Sahel Region.

As at now, the forecast he said is based on the best estimate of the impact of the various factors affecting rainfall in the country, and would be updated on a monthly basis starting from the end of June 2018. Bojang said that it is worth noting that the 2018 rainfall season is expected to undergo more variability than the 2017 season, with events such as late onset, occasional flash flooding and wet / dry spells. Accordingly, he said the department will continue to provide ten-day outlooks and daily weather forecasts to better anticipate the impacts of intra-seasonal climate events; that the forecast is highly recommended for use in the planning of interventions in several socioeconomic sectors.

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