According to forecasts made by the Ethiopian Meteorological Agency (EMA), the current belg (March-May) season might incur heavy rains, which could cause floods in different parts of the country. The Director General of EMA, Fetene Teshome, urged the public to make all the necessary preparations, ahead of time, to prevent damages.
“Some stations of the agency have recorded heavy rainfalls that resulted in floods in some parts of the country and since the rains will continue till mid-May the public should be prepared to avert any possible loss of lives and destruction of property due to the flood,” the director said in a press conference held on Wednesday.
The belg season is the major source of rain in Somali, Southern Oromia and Southern Regional States. It is also a pre rain season for Rift Valley areas and Western Ethiopia.
Back in January, the agency forecasted that the belg season will control the El Niño phenomenon and, according to Fetene, things are going as per the forecast.
It was also noted that the current belg season has both positive and negative impacts. Sporadic flood, snow and outburst of rivers are listed as some of the negative impacts. On the flip side, belg-growing and drought affected areas would benefit from the rains.
Concerning the current El Niño phenomena, the director said that the impact might be reduced during the upcoming rainy season.
“Though the forecast for the rainy season will be made around mid-May—taking into consideration the current conditions on the ground—the impact of El Niño will be reduced,” he said.
The Government of Ethiopia officially established the National Meteorological Services Agency in December 31, 1980.
It was at the end of the 19th century that missionaries who came to Ethiopia started conducting meteorological observations of Addis Ababa. From 1946-1949 government offices for agricultural sector carried out some preliminary meteorological tasks especially for locust control. However, due to the growing demands of meteorological information for safe operations of air transport, a unit that handles meteorological activity was also established in the early fifties under the Civil Aviation Department.
As the other economic and social sectors began to realize the importance of meteorological services the then unit was changed with the responsibility of giving assistance to non-aviation activities.