Department of Climate Change and Meteorological services has said a greater part of the country will experience normal total rainfall amounts during the 2017 to 2018 rainfall season.

Speaking at a forecast dissemination press conference director of the department Joram Nkhokwe said this means that Malawi may have a good harvest.

However, Nkhokwe said the yields may be affected by other effects of climate change.

He said flooding and hailstorms might occur in some areas.

“This is Based on observations and analysis for Malawi with further additional inputs from climate experts who met and produced a southern Africa regional consensus rainfall outlook for 2017 to 2018 rainfall season during the southern African regional climate outlook forum (SARCOF) in Gaborone, Botswana,” said Nkhokwe.

He emphasised that forecast is relevant for relatively large areas and seasonal time scales therefore may not fully account for all factors that influence localised climate variability such as daily, weekly and month to month variations.

Nkhokwe said his department will therefore continuously issue seasonal updates, daily and five-day forecasts,weekly weather updates, ten day rainfall and agro-meteorological bulletins as well as monitor and issue advises on the development and movement of the tropical cyclones during the 2017 to 2018 rainfall season.

“Users are encouraged to pay attention to these regular weather updates provided through various communication channels. In recent years rainfall seasons that have been analogous to the current neutral conditions are 1990 to 1991, 1993 to 1994, 2001 to 2002 and 2012 to 2013 seasons. Analyses on these past neutral years show that the country experienced normal total rainfall amounts over most areas,” explained Nkhokwe.

The period October to April is the official rainfall season over Malawi.

Generally the main rains start from November in the South and progressively spread northwards.

During this period the main bearing systems that influence rainfall over Malawi include the inter tropical Convergence zone, Congo air mass, easterly waves and tropical cyclones.

The key driving factor of rainfall system over Malawi are sea surface temperatures over tropical pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.

Currently neutral El Nino southern oscillation conditions have developed over the eastern central equatorial pacific ocean and model projections are indicating that these conditions are likely to persist up to the end of 2017 to 2018 rainfall season.