Land and Resources, Climate
monsoon winds, hottest region, Indian monsoon, coldest temperatures, southern interior
The Indian monsoon influences the climate of the northern two-thirds of Mozambique. Rains arrive with the monsoon winds from the Indian Ocean in October and linger through March, while a dry season prevails during the rest of the year, when the winds blow in the opposite direction. The southern third of the country is generally drier. Rainfall can be as high as 1,400 mm (56 in) a year near the Zambezi Delta and as low as 300 mm (12 in) a year in the lowlands of the southern interior. Severe droughts struck Mozambique in 1974, the early 1980s, and 1992. The droughts were relieved by heavy rains, which resulted in flash floods. Severe flooding ravaged Mozambique in early 2000, displacing thousands of people and wiping out crops and livestock.
Average temperatures along the coast are as low as 18°C (65°F) in the extreme south, while in the hot season most parts of the coast average 27° to 28°C (80° to 82°F). The hottest region is the interior Zambezi Valley, with average summer temperatures of 32°C (90°F). The coldest temperatures are usually recorded in one of the western mountain ranges, where frosts are common in the winter. The average January temperature in Maputo, the capital, is 26°C (78°F), while the average July temperature is 18°C (65°F).
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