By Nelson Manneh
The Department of Water Resources has predicted the rainfall for the 2022 wet season to be above average as more rain is expected in the months of August and September.
In a press release issued by the Department, it indicated that torrential rain associated with thunderstorms resulted in flash floods which affected the entire country from the afternoon of Saturday 30th July 2022, through greater period of Sunday 31st July 2022, and has caused loss of lives and structural damages to infrastructure especially within West Coast Region.
“This torrential rain occurred as a result of an inflow of strong moist South to South westerly winds into the country, three days prior to rainstorm and hence the accumulation of significant amounts of moisture concentration in the atmosphere, to saturation point,” the press release stated; that with this situation, coupled with convectional activity (i.e. intensive differential heating of the Earth’s surface) and the continuous heavy downpour of about more than twenty hours, was experienced throughout the country, especially within the West Coast Region.
The release said the rainstorm started in the late morning of Saturday 30th July 2022, to early evening of 31st July 2022, with the highest amount of rainfall recorded during this period as 276 mm at the Banjul International Airport.
The release stated that the country experienced the same on 31st July 1998, with rainfall amounts of 175.4 mm meaning that the country has not recorded such a significant amount of rainfall in 34 years.
“Thus, the re-occurrence of flash flooding is eminent during this period. However, the outlook for the next few days suggests rain and thunderstorms to be likely associated with strong winds from the late evening of 3rd August to the late afternoon of 4th August 2022.
‘‘This is likely to generate substantial amounts of rainfall that can affect flood prone areas. The climatological records in the Gambia indicate that August and September are generally the wettest periods of the year which are is associated with flash flooding. The Department of Water Resources will continue to monitor the weather and climate on a daily basis and inform the general public, decision-makers and all other stakeholders accordingly,’’ the release ends.