Met warns rain will be insufficient

March 8, 2011 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 8 -The Kenya Meteorological Services has warned that the expected March-May long rains will be inadequate and famine stricken areas will continue to experience drought.

The department\’s director Joseph Mukabana said minimal rainfall was expected over most agricultural areas of the country and will be poorly distributed with prolonged dry spells.

He said Western, Nyanza, parts of Rift Valley and Coast would receive high amounts of rainfall.

"The information given by the national weather service is scientific and not biased and therefore it should be used for planning and preparedness. To be forewarned is to be forearmed," Dr Mukabana said.

Most parts of Rift Valley, Central, Eastern and Nairobi were expected to receive average rainfall, while counties in Eastern, Western and northern parts of Coast and parts of Rift Valley like Samburu, Isiolo, West Pokot, Baringo, Laikipia and Turkana will receive below average rainfall.

Northeastern region, which is currently experiencing drought, will receive highly depressed rainfall meaning below average.

"The best thing you can do is to ensure that information is used for the intended purpose. The best forecast if not applied is useless," said the Met boss.

Dr Mukabana said the rains were expected to begin from next week in most parts of the country and end in June.

"The forecast we give for the long rains is about 80 percent accurate. The 20 percent inaccuracy is because we have few stations and we need to put more observatories in Kenya. For example from Kitale (where there is an observatory) to Lodwar (where the next one is) is almost over 200 kilometers so what happens in between there?" he posed.

He said that the month of March would generally be dry with depressed rainfall being recorded in most parts of the country.

"It does not necessarily mean that there will be no rain, there could even be a storm that causes flooding but generally when we come to measure it at the end of March the average will show depressed rains," Dr Mukabana explained.

He said that April will record average rainfall all over the country while May will be a bit depressed all over the country.

The negligible October to December short rains led to poor crop performance and water scarcity which has caused the current drought that has affected more than 1.8 million Kenyans according to the Kenya Red Cross Society.

This figure is expected to rise to over five million by next month.

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