Kenya set for low rainfall between March-May

February 13, 2017 3:11 pm
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Acting Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) Peter Ambenje said the sector which includes the North Eastern region will experience depressed levels of rainfall during the latter part of the long rains season/FILE

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Feb 13 – The country’s Eastern sector will experience depressed rainfall during the March-April-May long rains season, the Kenya Meteorological Department has said.

Acting Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) Peter Ambenje said the sector which includes the North Eastern region will experience depressed levels of rainfall during the latter part of the long rains season.

“Most of the Eastern sector of the country is likely to remain generally dry during March,” Ambenje noted saying the seasonal rains will pick up in April and May but still remain significantly low.

A report dubbed – The outlook for the 2017 long rains season (March, April and May) – released Monday by the KMD, indicates that the Western region of the country will experience an onset in rainfall in the second and third week of March with the North Eastern region experiencing the same during the first and second week of April. Rainfall in these two regions will continue to June 2017, according to the report.

Counties in the Western region (Busia, Vihiga, Kakamega and Bungoma), those in Nyanza region (Kisumu, Siaya, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira and Homa Bay), in Northern Rift Valley (Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Kericho, Baringo, Bomet, Nandi, Elgeyo Marakwet, Turkana, West Pokot) as well as some of the counties in the Central region are likely to experience average rainfall during the three months.

Counties in the Southern Rift Valley part of the country (Samburu, Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok and Kajiado), those in Central parts of Kenya (Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kiambu, Murang’a and Kirinyaga) and counties in the Eastern region (Embu, Tharaka Nithi and Meru) are expected to receive near normal rainfall with a tendency of below normal rainfall.

Others are Nairobi County, Mandera, Garissa and Wajir in the Northern region, as well as Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, Lamu, Tana River and Taita/ Taveta counties in the coastal region of Kenya.

According to KMD, the low levels of rainfall are as a result of sea surface temperature anomalies over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans which are backbone of rain generating systems.

“The forecast on the March-April-May long rains season is based on the prevailing and expected revolution of sea surface temperature anomalies,” Ambenje said adding: “The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) , that is currently neutral, is not favourable for good seasonal rainfall in the country.”

The decline in rainfall is expected to have a direct impact on agriculture, livestock, water resources and the health sector with the Energy sector expected to receive a boost owing to the near normal rainfall between March and May according to Ambenje.

The boost in the energy sector according the weatherman will be as a result of the, “gradual improvement in the water levels at Seven Forks hydroelectric power generation dams due to the forecasted average to below average rainfall in the Tana River catchment areas.”

Cholera outbreaks and flash floods are also expected in parts of Western and Central Rift Valley despite the projected average to below average rainfalls.

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