The Department of Water Resources has published a press release on the aftermath of the flash floods devastating residents of The Gambia mostly in the Greater Banjul Area towards the last two days of July 2022. The statement noted that since 31st July 1988 the Gambia has not recorded such a significant amount of rainfall in 34 years. However, residents in flood-prone areas have been warned to brace up for more rain, thunderstorms and strong winds on the 3rd and 4th of August 2022. Below is the press release from the Department of Water Resources.
FLASH FLOODING THAT AFFECTED THE GAMBIA FROM 30TH – 31ST JULY 2022
Torrential rain associated with thunderstorms resulted to flash flooding which affected the entire country from Saturday afternoon, 30th July 2022 through the greater period of Sunday, 31st July 2022 and caused the loss of lives and structural damages to infrastructures, especially within the West Coast Region.
This torrential rain occurred as a result of the inflow of strong moist South to South-westerly winds into the country three days prior to the rainstorm and hence accumulated a significant amount of moisture concentration in the atmosphere to saturation point. With this situation, coupled with conventional activity (intensive differential heating of the Earth’s surface), continuous heavy downpour of about more than 20 hours was experienced in the country, especially over West Coast Region. The rainstorm started in the late morning of Saturday, 30th July to the early evening of 31st July 2022. The highest amount of rainfall quantity recorded in during this period was 276 mm at Banjul International Airport, Yundum. The country experiences the same on 31st July 1988 with rainfall amount of 175.4 mm recorded. This means the country has not recorded such a significant amount of rainfall quantity in 34 years.
As the Department of Water Resources predicted rainfall quantity to be above average in 2022, more rains are expected in the months of August and September 2022. Thus, the re-occurrence of flash flooding is eminent during this period.
However, the outlook for the next few days suggests rain and thunderstorms will likely combine with strong winds from the late evening of 3rd August to the late afternoon of 4th August 2022. This is likely to generate a substantial amount of rainfall quantity that could affect flood-prone areas. The climatological records in the Gambia indicate that August and September are generally the wettest periods of the years which are also associated with flash flooding.
The Department of Water Resources will continue to monitor the weather and climate on daily basis and inform the general public, decision-makers and all other stakeholders.