NAIROBI, Kenya, Mar 20 – The Kenya Meteorological Department has urged Kenyans not to panic despite the delay in the long rains which were expected at the beginning of this week.,
Assistant Director Ayub Shaka expressed optimism on Friday that the rains will fall next week, and called on farmers to work together with the Ministry of Agriculture so as to determine planting patterns.
“Farmers should liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture so that they can be advised on which crops to plant which can benefit from the rains that are expected in those areas,” Mr Shaka said
He also outlined the expected rainfall pattern.
“Some areas are expected to have depressed rainfall while some are expected to have enhanced rainfall. For those who are in areas which are expected to have depressed rainfall, maybe they can harvest rain water so that they can be well prepared,” he advised.
In an exclusive interview with Capital News, the weatherman said that some parts of the country will experience a reduced rainfall rate.
“The areas which are expected to have depressed rainfall are the rest of the country except Western Kenya, Nyanza and the Southern part of the Coast,” he stated.
The March-April-May 2009 seasonal rainfall forecast indicates that sporadic heavy and short-lived rainfall storms may, however, occur in the arid and semi arid lands.
The rainfall onset is expected to start between the second and third week of March 2009 in Western Kenya and then progress eastward within the season.
Mr Shaka recounted that the October-November-December 2008 short-rains were characterised by very poor temporal distribution.
He said that most parts of the country experienced heavy and continuous rainfall during the month of October and the first half of November.
He however explained that the entire country remained generally sunny and dry throughout the second half of November and the entire month of December.
“During the month of December, for example, most stations in the country recorded monthly totals not exceeding 10mm,” he said.
The heavy rainfall that occurred over various parts of the country in October and November 2008 resulted in flash floods and landslides that led to loss of life and property as well as destruction of infrastructure.
The most affected regions included the North-Eastern Province where some areas were periodically submerged in floods.
In Central Province, more than 10 people were buried alive due to landslides in Murang’a district while swollen seasonal rivers claimed a few lives in Nairobi.
In the Western and parts of the Rift Valley Provinces, floods displaced several people in areas of Budalang’i and Trans Nzoia while in East Pokot; several people were killed by mudslides due to excessive rainfall. Bridges were swept off by flood waters in the same regions.
In Tana River District, a few people were temporarily displaced by floodwaters emanating from heavy rainfall in the upper catchment areas of River Tana.