On 26 February, in just 24 hours, 129 mm of rain came pelting down in the Analamanga region – 14 times the norm for that month. The February rainfalls triggered floods on the East and West coasts of the country and surging flood waters breached a number of dams around the capital, Antananarivo (Bureau National de Gestion des Risques et des Catastrophes bulletin of 3 March 2015). The heavy showers had been plaguing the island since the end of 2014.
The seasonal forecast released by Météo Madagascar (the Meteorological Service of Madagascar) in November 2014 had predicted above normal precipitation from December to February in most of the country, but especially in the region of Analamanga. More detailed monthly forecasts followed. The flooding on 26-27 February, the result of a rapidly evolving localized deep convection, could not be predicted that far ahead.
Improving sub-seasonal to seasonal forecasts is one of the major contributions of WMO to the Global Framework for Climate Services (GFCS). This month, the WMO GFCS Office will hold a national consultation workshop in Madagascar to identify how the country’s capacity to develop and use climate services for decision-making can be enhanced. Harnessing the current scientific advances to increase the availability and accuracy of user-friendly climate services can help manage disaster risks and adapt to climate variability and climate change.