Expect more rains: Up to November - GMet warns
The Ghana Meteorological Agency (GMeT) has cautioned that the distribution of this year’s September to November rainfall may lead to more localised floods in low lying areas within Accra and Kumasi.
It said there was also a high chance of heavy flood in the northern part of the country due to the quantum of the rainfall expected in those areas and the likelihood of the spillage of the Bagre Dam in Burkina Faso.
This was contained in this year’s September October November (SON) forecast made available to the Daily Graphic.
The Deputy Director and Head of Research and Applied Meteorology at GMeT, Francisca Martey, said the current rainfall pattern, as captured in the forecast, was not out of the ordinary.
Francisca Martey — Deputy Director and Head of Research in Applied Meteorology at the Ghana Meteorological Agency
The agency said this year’s SON rainfall was expected to be above normal for most places in the country, except for some areas in the south-western parts around Asankragwa in the Western Region, and the transition portions of the country — referring to Kintampo and surrounding areas of the rain forest regions towards the northern areas — where rainfall was expected to be normal.
Most of the rainfall, it said, would be in the form of light to moderate rain spread over several hours, with some few heavy incidences expected.
It said many places in the northern part of the country would also experience mostly above normal rainfall.
At the peak of the SON season, it said, there was a high probability of a few incidences of heavy rain accompanied by strong winds and lightning, which could lead to localised floods.
“Flash floods may occur, especially in the month of October, in places such as low lying areas of Accra and Kumasi during the September to November period. This may lead to some roads becoming impassable when it rains,” the agency said.
It revealed that at the beginning of the minor season, short to normal dry spells were expected, while towards the end of the season, longer to normal dry spells were expected over most places in the southern regions of Ghana.
It said this year’s rainfall season for the coastal towns and its surrounding inland areas was likely to end earlier as compared to their normal dates.
In addition, it said, most places in the forest areas would have their season ending on the normal dates.
The agency has, consequently, warned authorities in the disaster management sector to establish and operationalise integrated monitoring and early warning systems for flood risk.
It said exchanges between the agencies in charge of flood monitoring, disaster risk reduction and humanitarian aid should be escalated.
It also urged the various assemblies to sensitise residents of the exposed areas to the impending danger, while urging settlers in flood-prone areas to relocate.
In places where the rainy season is wetter, the agency said there were higher levels of the risk of cholera, malaria, dengue fever, bilharzia and diarrhoea.
To mitigate the development of germs and reduce the risk of diseases, it recommended that public education should be intensified through national platforms on disaster risk reduction through the media and information vans.
Also, it said, collaboration between stakeholders such as the meteorological, hydrological and disaster management organisations needed to be intensified.
To reduce the impact of the season on agriculture, the agency said farmers, especially those in the eastern coastal areas, must focus on short maturation crops since the season was shorter.
It also urged them to invest more in the seeds of improved varieties and to practise the development of yield enhancement techniques for both food crops and cash crops.
It urged farmers to be mindful of the decisions and choices they made since there was the likelihood of moisture deficit towards the end of the season, coupled with the fact that the season is shorter.
It advised the farmers to diversify income-generating activities and to promote agricultural practices such as no-tillage, mulching, market gardening and agroforestry to offset the production deficit that could affect areas exposed to dry spells at the tail end of the season.
In addition, it urged the farmers to adopt farming techniques for the conservation of soil water, and to devise plans to protect farm produce due to the likelihood of rain during harvest time, which could lead to post-harvest losses.
Meanwhile, the Director of the Centre for Climate Change and Sustainability Studies at the University of Ghana, Prof. Kwadwo Owusu, said although climate change had direct impact on rainfall patterns, the current situation was normal.
"Experiencing more rains from August to October is normal, except that we have not been seeing this in recent years. But there is no cause for alarm," he said.
He added that if the season was normal, there should be more rains to the end of October.
"I am not forecasting that there will be more rains until October, but I am saying that if the season is normal, there will be rains to that point," he said.
Rainfall pattern is explained as the distribution of rain geographically, temporarily and seasonally.
Experts say the change in the rainfall pattern is a consequence of global warming.
They indicate that erratic changes in the rainfall pattern would affect agriculture, especially so when agriculture in third world countries was heavily dependent on the seasonal rainfall
The situation, they say, could create food insecurity for an ever-increasing world population.
They also contend that flood, drought and famine, which were the consequences of the changing patterns, could worsen.
As recently as August this year, the European Commission published a technical article on how climate change was disrupting rainfall patterns and putting global health at risk.