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Central, Coast to bear brunt of dry spell

NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 14 – Central and Coast Provinces will bear the brunt of the current dry spell, according to a gloomy forecast given by the Kenya Meteorological Department.

Chief Meteorologist James Muhindi has told Capital News that the generally dry conditions in the country are likely to persist into early April by which time the long rains should have begun.

“Central; that’s where we have a problem because the performance of the long rains was not very good in March, April and May; and then June, July, August and September is generally a dry period. We didn’t have any rains,” he said in an exclusive interview, recalling last year’s conditions.

The weatherman said it rained very well in October and November but the rains ceased when the crop was just getting ready.
Muhindi described the current weather pattern as a Lanina-like phenomenon, where prolonged dryness could result in drought.

“When you talk of drought, it’s long-term. And if for the next three months we don’t see any rainfall, we may see quite some negative impact particularly in south-eastern Kenya where they did not get any harvest,” he told Capital News at the Met Department’s headquarters.

Muhindi was quoting the latest weather outlook from the Ministry of Environment and Mineral Resources, under which the Met Department falls.

The outlook for January-February 2009 ‘indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience generally sunny and dry weather conditions’, according to the review.

Pastures for livestock that had initially improved over most parts of north-eastern districts have deteriorated due to insufficient rainfall as well as prevailing high temperatures.

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“Even animals may start facing very rough times – even dying,” Muhindi predicted on Tuesday.

However parts of western Kenya, especially south of the Lake Victoria basin, are expected to experience occasionally light rainfall.

The government recently said that nearly 10 million Kenyans, almost a quarter of the population, are facing a food shortage due to drought, and that it will declare a national emergency.


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