Namibia most severe drought in 30 years
THE central areas of Namibia are experiencing the most severe drought in three decades, seasonal rainfall figures released by the Meteorological Service of Namibia show.
The 166 millimetres of rain measured at the headquarters of the Meteorological Service in Windhoek during the past rainy season from October last year to the end of April is the lowest seasonal rainfall total recorded at that weather station since the 1981/82 rainy season. At Rehoboth, too, the past rainy season has been the driest in 31 years, historical rainfall figures from the Met Service indicate. Only the northeastern parts of Namibia have experienced a near normal rainy season. Over the rest of the country rainfall totals are all well below the normal seasonal figures for respective weather stations, with the Gobabeb research station in the Namib Desert and the Walvis Bay Airport the only exceptions to the trend. At the Windhoek Meteorological Service weather station, the 166 mm of rain measured from October to the end of April is 53 percent below the total of 354,8 mm that could be expected in a normal rainy season. It is also the lowest seasonal total measured at the Windhoek Met office since the drought of 1981/82, when a total of 126,2 mm of rain was recorded during an exceptionally dry rainy season. The lowest seasonal rainfall total at the Windhoek Met office between the 1981/82 and the 2012/13 droughts seasons was a total of 185,3 mm recorded from October 1995 to April 1996. At Rehoboth, a total of 72,4 mm of rain was recorded from October last year to the end of April 70 per cent below the town's normal seasonal rainfall total of 238,7 mm. Historical rainfall figures obtained from the Meteorological Service also show that the 2012/13 rainy season was the driest to be experienced at Rehoboth since 1981/82, when a seasonal total of 71,2 mm was measured at that town. The past rainy season's rainfall totals at weather stations in the south are also far below normal. At Keetmanshoop, the 62 mm recorded from October last year to the end of April is 59 percent lower than the total rainfall of 152,4 mm expected in a normal rainy season, while the 45 mm measured at Gibeon is 70 percent lower than its normal seasonal total of 147,6 mm. The situation is even more serious at Warmbad in the southwest of Namibia, where only 9 mm of rain 91 percent below the normal seasonal total of 96 mm was measured this past rainy season, according to the Meteorological Service's latest rainfall bulletin. Some places in the south have however bucked the trend. At Koes, the rainfall figures show, a total of 102 mm was received from October to April 36 percent below the normal seasonal total of 159,4 mm. At Ruacana in the north, where 425,8 mm of rain is recorded in a normal rainy season, 268,6 mm was measured this past season. That is 37 percent below the normal seasonal total. At Ondangwa, the seasonal total came to 312,8 mm from October to April, which is 30 percent below its normal figure of 448,5 mm. The same trend was seen at Okaukuejo in the southern part of the Etosha National Park, where 221,8 mm of rain was recorded this past rainy season. That is 37 percent lower than its normal seasonal total of 350,9 mm. At Grootfontein, 314,4 mm was measured from October to the end of April 43 percent below the normal seasonal total of 556,9 mm. In the northeastern part of Namibia the deviation from normal rainfall totals was less extreme. The seasonal total of 512 mm received at Katima Mulilo was 22 percent below the normal total of 653,6 mm, while at Rundu, where 461 mm of rain was recorded, the seasonal total was 18 percent below the normal total of 565,6 mm. Rains in late March resulted in above average rainfall totals being recorded at Gobabeb and Walvis Bay Airport, though. The seasonal total of 39,4 mm measured at Gobabeb is 88 percent higher than the normal figure of 21 mm recorded at that spot in the Namib Desert, while the 18,9 mm recorded at Walvis Bay Airport is 101 percent higher than the 9,4 mm expected there in a normal rainy season.?
Source: The Namibian