Kenya warned of looming drought

July 29, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Jul 29 – The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that the country will experience drought in a month’s time, when the La Nina effect hits the country.

Assistant Director Ayub Shaka said on Thursday that temperatures over the Eastern and Central Pacific Ocean had started cooling which was an indication of a La Nina period.

“What happens with La Nina is that the rains tend to be deficient and the distribution is erratic – where some places get rain and others don’t get,” he said.

“In most cases when you come out of El Nino, we go to neutral stage and then go to La Nina but there are times when you can come from El Nino, go to neutral and probably go back to El Nino but those are very rare cases,” Mr Shaka explained in an interview with Capital News.

He however said that the department was yet to establish the strength of the La Nina. The last time the country experienced la Nina conditions was from August 2007 to June 2008.

“Normally when La Nina develops, there is a chance that it can abort which means it does not develop to its full maturity level,” he said.

“But from the way this one has now developed, the possibilities of it going back to neutral are very low so we are likely to see a full blown La Nina by the end of August and you know it is a long term thing. It can affect the coming season and the other one,” he warned.

Mr Shaka said the El Nino of moderate intensity that prevailed in 2009/2010 degenerated quickly in early May and was followed by a neutral condition from mid May to mid June. It has reached the borderline of a weak La Nina condition.

“The majority of models now predict La Nina conditions will develop,” he said

He said the department would issue a full forecast towards the end of August.


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