Kenyans warned of erratic rains

September 7, 2010 12:00 am

, NAIROBI, Kenya, Sep 7- Kenya could face another food crisis after the meteorological department warned that the expected short rains would be inadequate.

The department\’s director Joseph Mukabana said on Tuesday that the October to December short rains would be poorly distributed with prolonged dry spells even in the most agricultural areas of the country.

He said that this would interfere with agricultural activities in most parts of the country and advised farmers to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture to make best use of the rains by planting appropriate crops.

"We are just coming from the El- Nino related rains and when we immediately come into La Nina condition, the food insecurity will be moderate for the next three months but our worry is if the situation extends into the long rains (March to May) and this is highly likely," he explained.

Dr Mukabana said that Western, Nyanza and parts of Rift Valley provinces which include Kericho, Nandi, Eldoret and Kitale were likely to receive good rainfall while Central, Nairobi, parts of Eastern and Rift Valley provinces would receive slightly inadequate rain.

North Eastern, Coast, parts of Eastern which include Makindu, Machakos, Moyale and Marsabit will have little rain.

"The expected depressed seasonal rains are associated with the presence of an evolving La Nina. This La Nina is currently classified as weak to moderate at almost -1.5°c but by December we expect that it may grow to about -2°c or even more and that will be the peak period," he said.

The short rains season is expected to begin towards the end of October apart from Nyanza and Western provinces where it is expected to begin on the first week of October.

"In most parts of the country, the rains are expected to cease in the last week of December," Dr Mukabana said.

He singled out the Arid and Semi-arid areas as the ones to be worst affected.

"Foliage and pasture conditions in the pastoral areas of North Eastern Kenya are expected to deteriorate as a result of the expected poor rainfall performance during the season. The Ministry of Livestock Development should monitor the situation to avoid loss of animals," he cautioned.

However, he said that flash floods could occur in some parts of Central and Western provinces.

He said that the climate outlook for the short rain season was mainly based on empirical statistical models developed from expected evolution of global sea surface temperatures anomalies.


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