0955 GMT October 23, 2019
A heavy rain system is expected to move through southwestern Iran on Friday, said the director general of Khuzestan Province Meteorological Organization.
Mohammad Sabzehzari told Iran Daily that after ensuring coordination with different domestic organizations, diverse measures have been introduced to prevent dam overflows and flooding in Khuzestan as the precipitation will be mainly focused on the southwestern Iranian province.
He noted that the rainfalls will not be as severe as those in late March, adding however this time, their focus has shifted with high rainfall expected in southwestern parts of the country.
Seventy people died in flooding in Iran after record rainfalls began saturating most parts of the country over the past few weeks.
Deaths have been recorded across 13 provinces, with the highest casualties in Fars, Lorestan, Golestan and Hamedan, IRNA quoted the head of Iran's Coroner's Office, Ahmad Shojaei, as saying.
Mehr News Agency says record rainfalls since March 19 have so far flooded some 1,900 cities and villages across Iran, causing hundreds of millions of dollars of damage to water and agriculture infrastructures.
Over 140 rivers have burst their banks and some 409 landslides have been reported in the country, it reported, adding that 78 roads had been blocked and 84 bridges in flood-stricken areas affected.
Officials on Saturday warned residents in the Khuzestan Province of rising water levels and urged them to take evacuation notices seriously, IRNA reported.
“Western provinces of Lorestan and Ilam were the main centers of the previous rain system.”
He said based on the latest atmospheric models, the system will remain active until April 14 producing between 100 millimeters and 150 millimeters of rainfall in northern parts of Khuzestan Province in 48 hours.
Sabzehzari warned that given the current high water level of dams and rivers in the province, this amount of rainfall could be dangerous.
He noted that since the water resources filling Khuzestan’s dams are located in Lorestan and Ilam, the new rain system will most probably not lead to any dam overflow, adding nevertheless, precipitation will lead to a rise in the level of water across the province, particularly in those regions currently accommodating temporarily flood-stricken people, which will pose dangers.
“Given this, the governor general’s office has ordered to evacuate some cities, particularly those in the western areas of the province, such as Sussangerd and Bostan. Close to 200,000 people will probably be evacuated from these cities.”
Commenting on the unprecedented high level of water in Khuzestan’s dams, Sabzehzari said currently, Karkheh Dam is filled to the brim as 8.2 billion cubic meters of water has flown into it over the past 10 days.
“To prevent an overflow, the dam’s spillways have fully opened.”
He noted that water inflow and outflow in the dam currently stand at 1,700 cubic meters and 2,400 cubic meters per second, respectively, to reduce the risk of flooding.
Sabzehzari said according to the latest atmospheric models, different types of weak and heavy rain systems are forecast to move through Khuzestan Province each week until May 21.
On the reason for the rise in the precipitation level in the province, he said no one can cite a logical reason for the phenomenon.
“However, some say that the phenomena of cyclogenesis, on oceans, and jet stream in the region, are responsible for the rise.”
He said the city of Husseinyeh in northern Khuzestan has received the highest (1,070 millimeters) rainfall since September 22, 2018, followed by Izeh which has had 935 millimeters of rainfall in the same period.
The official put the average rainfall in the province since the same date at 500 millimeters, noting that the figure has witnessed a 273.5-percent increase year-on-year as it stood at 133 millimeters during the same time-span last year.
“The average precipitation in Lorestan and Ilam provinces in the same duration amounted to 919 and 900 millimeters respectively.”
He said average rainfall in Ilam since September 22, 2018 shows an increase of 134 percent compared to the figure for the preceding 30 years.