THE Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has said the cold spell, cloudy and windy conditions that affected Matabeleland South, Bulawayo, Masvingo and Manicaland provinces from yesterday will continue until Tuesday.
The Department warned citizens who will use braziers indoors to ensure there is enough ventilation.
In a statement, the MSD said cold and relatively moist air through the south-eastern parts of the country should result in a gradual decline of temperatures beginning in the south-eastern districts of Masvingo.
“Bulawayo metropolitan, Matabeleland South, southern Midlands, Manicaland and Masvingo provinces are anticipated to have cloudy, windy, drizzly, cold morning and mild afternoon weather. All other places should experience cool morning and warm afternoon conditions except for Mashonaland East and Harare metropolitan province which should be windy towards the evening as clouds invade the sky further into the country,” said MSD.
The department said winds from the southern regions of the Indian Ocean are relatively cooler since they emanate from areas near the south pole.
“As they emanate from the ocean, these winds tend to gain moisture. However, from Monday (today) the winds should shift into an easterly direction resulting in clouds breaking over the south-eastern districts of Masvingo. These clouds should break over most areas by Tuesday,” said MSD.
A family warms itself over a brazier as temperatures tumbled yesterday
The Meteorological Department urged citizens to ensure that the elderly, persons with disabilities, the young, and the ill are kept warm.
“Sudden changes in temperature may affect those with respiratory-related illnesses such as asthma. Please take the necessary precautions. Take protective measures for both plants and livestock, monitor temperatures within fowl runs, and adjust accordingly to reduce the impact of cold conditions on birds and animals,” said MSD.
“Keep poultry, especially day-old chicks warm as they are sensitive to a decline in temperatures.”
The department has also advised that the high fire danger season was upon the country and advised citizens, particularly farmers to construct fire guards, which are at least nine metres wide to safeguard their properties.
“Don’t start any uncontrolled fires. Under hot conditions, do not leave children in cars as they (cars) can easily heat up to dangerous levels,” said MSD.
According to the Environmental Management Agency (EMA), the fire season starts from July to October and fires are prevalent during this time because of the dry weather conditions. During this period, no one is allowed to start fires outside their houses.
To combat veld fires, EMA has been working with communities in fire prevention projects such as fireguard construction, hay bailing and training firefighting teams.
Many veld fires are caused by human activities which include land clearing, and hunting, among others.
Documented veld fire causes, as recorded by EMA, include reckless disposal of cigarette stubs, lighting fires by roadsides while waiting for early morning buses, deliberate lighting of fires, children playing with matches and improper household ash disposal.
Statutory Instrument 7 of 2007 Environmental Management (Environmental Impact Assessment and Ecosystems Protection) Regulations states that no person must start a fire deliberately during the fire season. In case of a fire outbreak, any person within the vicinity of the fire must assist to put out the fire even if he or she is not the owner of the land or property.