Nairobi, Kenya | THE INDEPENDENT | In several parts of Uganda people will hardly be able to separate between the two rainy seasons of this year as the second season starts. This is because of the intermittent rains that have been experienced since June 2023, through August even when it was expected to dryer.
In some parts of central and west, heavy rains have been experienced since August while some parts continue to be largely dry. September to December constitutes the second major rainfall season in most parts of Uganda, according to the National Meteorology Authority.
At the 65th Climate Outlook Forum (COF65) for the Greater Horn of Africa in Nairobi, Kenya from last month, the national, regional and international climate scientists reviewed the prevailing and expected state of the global climate systems and their implications on the performance of seasonal rainfall over East Africa.
The forum observed that the major physical conditions likely to influence the climate conditions over Uganda for the period September to December 2023 included “the evolution of EI Niño conditions in the central and eastern tropical Pacific Ocean which are predicted to continue until the end of the season”.
The others are the Indian Ocean Dipole which is predicted to become positive (warm waters being pushed to the western part of the ocean) during the forecast period, and the influence of regional circulation patterns, topographical features and large inland water bodies.” Based on this and other prevailing conditions, the Ministry of Water and Environment through UNMA has generated a detailed forecast that overall expects above-normal (enhanced) rainfall over severalparts of the country, most especially over the Lake Victoria Basin and the hilly Rwenzori and Eastern regions.
The western parts of Central including Nakasongola, Luwero, Kiboga, Mubende, Sembabule, Lyantonde, and Rakai) districts are currently experiencing isolated outbreaks of showers and thunderstorms that are expected to continue up to mid-September, when the onset of the seasonal rainfall should get established.
“The peak of seasonal rainfall is expected around late October to early November. The cessation of seasonal rainfall is expected around early to mid-December,” says the forecast. Overall, near normal or average rains are expected with a possibility of above average conditions.
In the parts of Mukono, Buikwe, Kayunga and Buvuma, light rains are currently being experienced, signalling the onset of seasonal rainfall. “Steady rains are expected to getestablished around mid to late September, reaching peak levelsaround early to mid-October,” says UNMA, adding that the rains should cease around early to mid-December.
This region’s rainfall is expected to reach near normal to above normal levels. In the Central and Western Lake Victoria Basin districts of Kalangala, Kampala, Wakiso, Masaka, Mpigi, Butambala, Kalungu, Bukomansimbi, Gomba, and Mityana, the current isolated showers and thunderstorms, are expected to continue up to around mid-September when the rainy season will stabilise, peaking mid to late October.
The rains are expected to be between near-normal to above normal, ceasing around mid-December.
Busoga region and Tororo will continue experiencing the occasional showers that are expected to persist up to around early to mid-September, when the seasonal rains will intensify, peaking in late October, till mid-December.
The Southwestern highlands of Greater Kigezi and western Greater Mbarara districts have been experiencing dry conditions which are gradually giving way to occasional rains that will signify the onset of the season by mid-September. Thereafter, the rains should peak around mid-November and continue till early January 2024.
The lowlands of the east greater Mbarara will continue experiencing the current dry conditions to around early to mid-September when the onset of the seasonal rainfall is expected to stabilize and peak between late October and early November. Here, the rains are expected to stop by mid December, having reached near normal or average levels.
The Rwenzori region districts are currently experiencing isolated light rains which should lead to the onset of the seasonal rainfall by mid-September, which should peak in mid to late October.
The rains here are expected to reach near normal but could be above normal, before cessation by early December. The central parts of Masindi, Buliisa, Greater Hoima, Kyenjojo, Kyegegwa, Kamwenge, and Kitagwenda are currently experiencing isolated rains which are expected to persist up to around early and mid-September when the seasonal rains are expected to get established.
The peak is expected early to mid-October, and the cessation in mid-December. According to the forecast, there are high chances of near normal to above normal rains over most parts. In north and east Busoga districts there are isolated showers andthunderstorms which should stabilise by mid-September and peak around mid-October before cessation in late November to early December.
Overal the rains are expected to be average but could be higher.
In the Eastern parts of Kyoga like parts of Teso the current rainfall is expected to continue, peaking around early October, and cease around mid to late November. It is expected to reach near normal, with a tendency to be above normal. The Mount Elgon region of Greater Mbale and Sebei is experiencing steady rains over several parts which are expected to peak around early to mid-October before cessation around mid to late November.
The rain here is expected to be average but could go above. In the Northeastern parts like Amuria, Kapelebyong, Katakwi, and the rest of Karamoja, the onset of seasonal rainfall is expected around early to mid-september, peaking around late October.
The rains will cease around mid-November and are expected to reach near normal levels.
In the north, West Nile districts are currently experiencing rains expected to continue and peak around mid to late October before ceasing around late November to early December.
Overall, near-normal (average) to above-normal conditions are expected. The east northern districts of Lira, Alebtong, Amolatar, Kitguni, Lamwo, Agago, Otuke, Pader, Kole and Dokolo are experiencing occasional rainfall expected to continue and peak level around mid October.
The cessation of the season is expected around mid to late November, reaching near normal to above normal. In the Central Northern parts including Gulu, Apac, Nwoya, Oyam and Kiryandongo districts the current rains are expected to continue up to late November before declining into a mixture of rain and dry spells.
Overall, near-normal to above-normal rainy conditions are expected, according to the advisory.
Farmers, transporters, and other users are advised to keep following media updates on weather conditions. Specifically, government authorities are advised to plan early for incidents like flooding and landslides in lowlands and hilly areas respectively where the rains are expected to be intense.