Calls for automated weather stations

The Vumba plane crash, which recently claimed six lives along Zimbabwe’s border with Mozambique, could have been avoided if there was an automated weather station in the area, a senior official in the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) has said.


The plane crash, which was attributed to mist, resulted in the death of five Mozambicans and one Zimbabwean who were flying to Mutare for a board meeting.

Speaking during a recent media tour of Nyanyadzi irrigation scheme, Manicaland provincial chief MSD officer Lucas Murambi said the government was making frantic efforts to install automated weather stations in all districts.

“It’s very unfortunate that recently there was a plane crash in Vumba, but it is an issue that is being investigated. We wouldn’t know what happened, but on most occasions mountains would be covered by mist,” he said. “If automatic weather stations had been installed, we would have known the particular weather patterns on that day and perhaps the crash could have been avoided.’’

He said automated weather stations were not manned by humans and all recorded data is captured by the main server at the MSD headquarters in Harare.

Murambi added that the public was positively receiving their forecasts which had vastly improved on their accuracy.

“Our bosses have put a policy that we want to install rain gauges in every ward, which is going to take us a long way in terms of data.
So our forecast and database will be bigger and our forecasts will be more accurate,’’ he said during the tour, which was also attended by various other stakeholders among them Oxfam, Southern Alliance for Indigenous Resources, Department of Irrigation and Ministry of Environment.

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