By Poloko Mokhele
The Lesotho Meteorological Services (LMS) has warned the nation to brace for extremely cold conditions countrywide on Monday and Tuesday.
In a press release on Friday, LMS said daytime temperatures were forecast not to go above 10°C (Degrees Celsius) over the entire country, with the conditions becoming extreme in the highlands where at other areas, 5°C will barely be reached.
“There is also a small chance (30 percent) of drops of rain and very light snowfall in the highlands on Monday, becoming clear but still very cold on Tuesday. These conditions will improve from Wednesday,” director of meteorological Services ‘Mathabo Mahahabisa said.
The nation is therefore encouraged to take precautions. Please stay tuned to local media for frequent updates from Lesotho Meteorological Services,” Mahahabisa added.
Disaster Management Authority (DMA) today said “sporadic spells accustomed by snow are anticipated”.
“The Disaster Managenet Authority will monitor the situation but we highly discourage travelling to the highlands during the said dates and advice the nation to listen to their radios for weather updates.”
Winters in Lesotho are generally dry and cold, and are characterized by the domination of high-pressure systems with the resulting clear skies, dry air and warm to moderate temperatures during the day, with sudden cold temperatures just after sunset, according to the LMS.
During winter period precipitation is mainly in the form of snow and rain is very low if any.
It snows annually over the highlands, and sometimes over the lowlands.
According to the LMS, this is as a result of the southerly polar cyclones, which frequently result in frontal systems, which sometimes traverse the entire country.
“Frontal systems often result in low temperatures, and cold rainfall in the lowlands and heavy snowfalls in the highlands. Heavy snowfalls often occur either at the beginning or the end of the winter season,” LMS said on its website.
LMS is the Government arm on weather, climate and the atmospheric environment responsible for provision of meteorological services, coordination of national efforts to adapt and mitigate the changing climate and protection of the atmospheric environment including ozone layer over the territory of Lesotho.
It was created in 1974 as a division within the department of hydrology and Meteorological services.
In 1988 when this department was upgraded to the department of water affairs, LMS became a distinct cost centre with its own budget but still within the department of Water Affairs.
It was finally upgraded to the status of a fully-fledged department under the Ministry of Natural Resources on the 1st August 2000. The ministry has since been divided into three ministries; ministry of mines, ministry of energy and meteorological services, and ministry of water affairs. NW