THE Met Office has warned of severe flooding in parts of Zimbabwe as rains pound the country following a two-week dry spell.
Forecasters are warning that between Thursday and Wednesday, the country will see the heaviest rainfall activity since the first rains in November.
“The forecast indicates an increase of heavy rains throughout, reaching peak between January 19 and 25. It is likely that amounts exceeding 80mm in 24 hours will be recorded in some areas," said Tichaona Zinyemba, the Meteorological Services Department’s duty forecaster.
Flood alerts have been issued for low-lying areas including Kariba, Victoria Falls, Tsholotsho, Binga, Muzarabani, Hwange, parts of Masvingo and the Limpopo Valley.
A mid-summer dry spell was causing concern for farmers, particularly in parts of Matabeleland South, Hwange and Mberengwa whose crops were wilting in punishing heat.
But the Met Office is warning farmers to brace for a new kind of problem: flash floods.
"Already, satellite images are showing that the whole country is being affected by thunderstorm activities accompanied by lightning. There is heightened risk of flash flooding, principally in susceptible places and poorly drained soils," Zinyemba added.
The Civil Protection Unit has been put on high alert while the Zimbabwe Electricity Supply Authority (ZESA) and fixed phone company TelOne are braced for disruptions to their services.