Weatherman: The long rains season is here
Kenyans have been warned to brace themselves for increased rainfall in most parts of the country with the onset of the long rains season this month.
Kenya Meteorological Department said the peak of the rains is expected to be in the month of April for most regions except the Coastal region where the peak is expected during the month of May.
Kenya Meteorological Services Director Stella Aura said near average tending to above average rainfall is expected over most parts of the country with Western, Coast, North Eastern, Central and southern regions.
However, north western parts of the country, particularly Turkana, will experience near average rainfall.
“The outlook for long rains season rainfall begin early over most parts of the country and more so over the eastern and southern regions. The forecast for March-April-May (MAM) 2020 “Long-Rains” indicates that much of the country and especially most of the western and southern sectors are likely to experience generally enhanced rainfall,” said Ms Aura.
According to the forecast, the onset of the long rains is expected this week over the south Coast, Western, Central highlands, southern and central Rift Valley, and the south eastern region while the rest of the country is expected to receive the onset during the third and fourth week of March.
She pointed out that in February, substantial amounts of rainfall was recorded in parts of Central and Western Kenya, especially during the first week of the month.
For counties in the southern parts of the Rift Valley including Narok and Kajiado, the February rains will continue with occasional breaks during the second week of this month.
A similar weather pattern will be experienced in the Lake Basin counties of Homa Bay, Siaya, Kisumu and Migori as well as Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia in the western side of the Rift Valley.
Rainfall experienced last month in Central Rift Valley counties of Nakuru, Laikipia and Baringo will continue with occasional breaks next week, the second week of March.
In central highlands counties covering Nairobi, Nyandarua Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu and Tharaka Nithi; the rains will begin this week breaking in the second week of March before picking up again in the third and fourth week.
Counties in the south eastern part of the country including Machakos, Makueni, Kitui, Taita Taveta and parts of Tana River will welcome the long rains this week breaking next week before picking up again in the third and fourth week of March.
The same is expected in the southern coastal strip covering Mombasa, Kwale and parts of Kilifi Counties.
For counties in the northern Coastal region including Lamu, northern parts of Kilifi and coastal parts of Tana River, the long rains will begin during the third to fourth week of March.
Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu will experience the onset of the long rains in the last week of this month and the first week of April. However, occasional rainfall will be experienced during the begin of this month.
Wajir, Isiolo, Garissa, Mandera and Marsabit in the north eastern part of Kenya will experience the onset of the long rains between the third and fourth week of March.
However, occasional rainfall will be experienced during the beginning of this month.
As a result of the expected long rains, farming regions have been urged to take advantage of the expected rains and maximize crop yield through appropriate land-use management. In pastoral areas, pasture and water resources are expected to be abundant for livestock.
Lightning strikes are highly likely to occur in western Kenya especially within Kisii and Kakamega counties while cases of flooding in low lying areas as well as landslides/mudslides in hilly areas of Western, Central and Rift Valley are also highly probable.
“The floods are very likely to occur in eastern Kenya, central Rift Valley and Central highlands due to the expected enhanced rainfall in these areas leading to transport
challenges especially in areas where the roads become impassable when it rains with slippery roads and poor visibility during rainstorms posing danger to motorists and pedestrians, especially along the Kikuyu-Kinungi stretch on the Nakuru-Nairobi Highway,” said the Director.
In the health sector, the enhanced rains could lead to the emergence of diseases like cholera and typhoid in densely populated areas as a result of flooding and subsequent contamination of water.
“Within the coastal region as well as parts of the Lake Victoria basin counties, diseases such as malaria are also likely to emerge due to stagnant pools of rain water. Health authorities should, therefore, equip hospitals with necessary drugs to be able to deal with such situations as they arise,” she said.
According to the weatherman, the country experienced enhanced rainfall over most parts of the country during the October to December “short rains” season.
This led to severe storms and flooding in various parts of the country that led to loss of lives and destruction of property.
Some of the experienced impacts included land and mud slides in Murang’a, West Pokot, Taita Taveta, Makueni and Machakos counties. There was loss of live in West Pokot, Machakos and Makueni Counties.
Severe flooding occurred in Mombasa, Nairobi, Wajir, Marsabit, Garissa, Kitui, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori and Tana River Counties leading to loss of humans and
livestock in some areas and displacement of people in other areas. Cases of Malaria were also reported in Baringo and Elgeyo Marakwet Counties.
“Roads and bridges were washed away in some areas thus disrupting transport systems. Severe hailstone destroyed crops in parts of Busia, Nyandarua, Kakamega, Kericho, Nandi and Laikipia counties. The experienced weather conditions in January were favourable for the breeding and spread of the locusts in various counties,” said Ms Aura.