Kenya Met defends its data

January 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jan 7 – The Meteorological department has explained the lack of continuity in El Nino rains expected in October last year as a result of cyclones in the Indian Ocean that diverted winds that bring moisture.

A Senior Assistant Director Samuel Mwangi said on Thursday that the cyclones formed between mid November and mid December leading to an unusually dry period.

Speaking to Capital News, Mr Mwangi also blamed climate change for the erratic rains.

“Cyclones are very transient features, they form and disappear. Some of them last for a few days and others up to two weeks,” he said, explaining that this made it difficult to predict the position and where they would form beyond a week.

“It is difficult when you are making a seasonal forecast that covers a period of three months to project how and where the cyclones will form which introduces uncertainty in the forecast,” he said.

Mr Mwangi said the current torrential rains would go on until February when they would subside before the country entered the long rain season of March, April and May.

He said the extreme Northern areas of the country like Mandera, Moyale and Marsabit had already started drying up and were now receiving little rain and were unlikely to receive heavy rainfall in the near future.

”The seasonal patterns clearly indicate that by the time we come to February, the rain bearing systems will be in the extreme south and any influence or variability in the rainfall belt will not be affecting Kenya very much,” he said.

“The areas that are likely to continue receiving rains are mainly the Western parts of the country, parts of the Rift Valley and also the Central highlands and Nairobi which are more to the south,” he added.

Kenya has in the past few weeks suffered heavy downpour affecting over 70,000 people majority in Turkana districts. Government statistics indicate that already 35 people have lost their lives in the floods and some regions rendered inaccessible.

On Wednesday, a high-level meeting to discuss the floods crisis in the country blamed the meteorological department for the devastation witnessed in the country.

The Crisis Response Centre which met at Prime Minister Raila Odinga\’s office said the predictions made the government to direct disaster preparedness efforts elsewhere, where floods did not actually occur.

“The meteorological department gave the government a comprehensive report about the anticipated weather patterns; it did not follow the pattern that had been predicted.  This has hit other areas which were not in the scope given to us by our weather men,” Prime Minister Raila Odinga said.

The government has dispatched medical and water supplies to the affected areas to avert a possible outbreak of water borne diseases especially cholera.


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