Meteorological Services Department chief meteorologist, Mr Radithupa Radithupa has warned the public of heavy rains of up to 100 millimetres in 24 hours, as well as possible floods in the North East, Central and Gantsi districts from Friday.
This is as a result of a tropical cyclone known as “Dineo”, bursting in to the region, from the Indian Ocean
The weatherman said yesterday that while Cyclone Dineo would weaken into a depression or high-pressure system by the time it enters Botswana, it would still cause heavy rains in the North East, before moving westwards towards Gantsi by Sunday and Monday.
Widespread thundershowers are expected over Central, North-East and Gantsi districts tomorrow, moving into Ngamiland, Kgalagadi and Kweneng Districts between the 18th and 19th February 2017 and eventually ending up over Southern districts on the 20th.
It is extremely rare for certain types of weather phenomena to reach our shores. According to Experts, if they do pass over Botswana, they are usually considerably weakened after crossing inland from the deep ocean waters.
In certain areas, particularly where soils already have high moisture, the rains will cause flooding.
“Once over land, it will lose a lot of its moisture and strength due to friction, and we expect it will become a depression causing very heavy rainfall from Friday.
It will affect areas in the North East, Central between Friday and Saturday, before shifting towards Gantsi going into Monday and people should be watchful of the rains.
In the southern districts, we are expecting a bit of rain, but not of the intensity of the north. There will be scattered thundershowers in the South, while in the North we expect widespread thundershowers.” – Radithupa
Mr Radithupa further said Cyclone Dineo adds to a very wet season, where most areas have already received above average rainfall. He said all indications point to continued strong rains for the remainder of the season, which could push into April.
All major dams in the north are spilling over, including Dikgatlhong, the country’s biggest dam. In the south, only Gaborone Dam is yet to fill up significantly. A government press release states that tropical cyclone Dineo is currently positioned over the Mozambique Channel.
The statement warns Cyclone Dineo is expected to make landfall over Mozambique today, after which it will weaken into a tropical depression or low- pressure system. The resultant tropical depression is expected to bring torrential rains and strong winds, as it moves South-Westwards inland.
Its impact on Botswana will be felt from tomorrow until Monday 20th February 2017. Heavy rains of 80mm or more in 24hours are expected in some places.
The Curious Tale of Cyclone Dineo
When news of the Cyclone Dineo weather phenomenon first broke this week, Batswana up and down the country were curiously sceptical as to how it’s pronounced as well as its origins. Watching the news on TV added to the confusion, as news anchors appeared to have the correct pronunciation, too. But it seemed far-fetched to think the name could have come from our language, Setswana.
Excitement brewed after international media as far as North America and Eastern Europe beamed news updates that the cyclone was known as “Dineo”, a Setswana name. Quizzed on how the cyclone got a Setswana inspired name, Mr Radithupa said Botswana suggested the name to the Tropical Cyclone Committee of the South-West Indian Ocean Region.
Mr Radithupa noted that once the storm reaches moderate tropical intensity it should be named. The region has a Regional Specialised Meteorological Centre in Re-Union Republic that monitors the weather systems over the region. Each year different member countries get to name one cyclone.
The name Dineo was assigned according to a pre-defined alphabetical list for the 2016/2017 tropical storm season in the South-West Indian Ocean. The name was put forward by Botswana as part of the list drawn up by the 15-member Tropical Cyclone Committee for the South West Indian Ocean at its last meeting, an event, which takes place every two years.
The Meteorological Services Department will keep monitoring the situation and will update the public accordingly. For further information, contact the Director at 3612272 or Forecasting Office at 3612282/83.
Reference: BOPA, BW Government
Picture courtesy of eNCA