Meteorological boss says there will be deficit of rain in the country

By Ishmael Sallieu Koroma

Deputy Director General and Head of operations  of  the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMA) Gabriel Kpaka

The Deputy Director General and Head of operations  of  the Sierra Leone Meteorological Agency (SLMA) Gabriel Kpaka has said  that this rainy  season there will be a deficit of rain in the country.

Gabriel Kpaka made this statement in an exclusive interview  with Pan African Vision online at his Charlotte Street Office  in Freetown ,where he said for this seasonal forecast, there will be a long dry spell in the country  stating that before the start of any season ,  they do a seasonal forecast  inline with  bench mark developed by the United Nations world Metrological organization .

“The thing is for the particular season , there has to be a  deficit of rain in the country, that is to say there has to be a reduction in rain. That is when we look back from 1990 ‘s there used to be a huge amount of rain , which is the total amount of rainfall which by then used to be around 7,000 -6,000 millilitres  of rain. There will be a drastic reduction of rain for this year , that is like our seasonal forecast there will a long dry spell ,  that is,  it rains today, it takes   two to three days  with no rain and because of the dry spell, it cut the total amount of rain fall that is recorded country wide,’’ he said.

He said in their forecast , they also looked  at temperature stating that  they observed that during this rainy season, there  will be  an increase in temperature thus referencing 1990’s when its rainy season the place is cold but now the place will not be colder compared to some 20 years back.

 “That is like you know way back ,if you try collect back during the 1990s when they say its rainy season, people are happy because there will be  rain and place would become cold but now the place will not be going to colder compare  say 20 years back,’’ Kpaka said

Gabriel Kpaka said  from their seasonal forecast the country  will be  having early  thunder and lightning which normally happened in October adding that they were surprised that the  thunder and lightning started in June more so their strong winds in the Western part of the country.

  “ As a whole now say  when we zoom in for watching into the rainy season , we observed that the rainy season , will start with an early rain ,and which happens . This  data that was  published since April . Rainy season should start in May, but we started recording rain in April’’

When asked that whether the reduction of rain and temperature could be as a result of climate change , the meteorological boss replied “ of course definitely is climate and it’s because of the activities of us humans . one thing we have to know that one of the enhancing factors for rains is that we have vegetations . of course during the rainy season , that is the time , we have less sun rates in this part of the tropical , so  if we have vegetations, more condensations will take place ,that is to say more water particles will come together and then form as rain but then those areas where they have cut down trees what will happened is that they will experience heat wave atmosphere .

The Meteorological boss  went on to say that as an agency they have a mode of communicating some of the weather forecast as they are service providers to the Sierra Leone Airport , stating that without the meteorological agency no aeroplane will not land in the country  thus  their staffs are always working  24 hours putting coded messages to aviation personnel even though they didn’t have power to enforce their recommendations they send them mostly to the Office of National Security .

“ When we did a marine forecast that the sea will be rough , we do not have that power to take people off the waters , the office of National Security and the Marine personnel they have the right to take them off the water , they have that responsibility . So, our Information go through ONS , and the different Ministries . That’s why when we have our seasonal forecast, we send copies to all sectors even the health ministry and recommendations ,’’

The Met boss further said there will be flooding even though there is deficit of rain adding that the cause of flooding from a meteorological perspective is that the threshold is  when there is  record rainfall of 20 millilitres  within one hour and its still raining thus  it is going to cause flooding.

“And most of things that is causing this flooding is the land use in the country .The way people are using land currently in the country, is not really okay . You will observe that people are building in flood prone areas  that are wet land and the wet land already the water level already up . Moreover, the drainage system most of the time , when their rains those at the receiver end suffers especially those in water prone areas,’’ the Meteorological deputy boss explained.

He said as an institution , they have been training farmers to understand weather forecast and providing them early update as it is very useful for them to in their farm work .

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