BY JOAN WANJIKU,NAIROBI,22ND FEB,2022-The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) says the country is headed for a good rainfall season in the March, April to May (MAM) long rains seasons.
However, the weatherman is warning of flooding in Budalang’i, Nyando and Baringo as well as in the South-Eastern lowlands, Tana- River and Garissa counties.
While releasing the long rains seasonal forecast the Director of Kenya Meteorological Department Stella Aura, urged caution in Kakamega and Kisii areas where lightning is prevalent.
“There will be enhanced rainfall over the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central and South Rift Valley, the North-west, the Highlands East of the Rift Valley, including Nairobi County, and the South Eastern lowlands,” she said adding that, “near-average rainfall is expected over the North-eastern and the Coastal regions.”
With the country coming from a La Nina weather pattern that saw most of the country receiving below normal rainfall during the short rains season, Aura urged the ASAL counties to put in place soil conservation measures owing to the heavy rainfall which may lead to soil erosion.
In addition, Aura said that the Arid and Semi-Arid lands (ASALs) could see a rise in pests and animal diseases due to the expected moisture after a long period of dry weather advising them to stock enough herbicides and pesticides as well as enhance disease surveillance, control and prevention.
The Director of KMD further said that the current shortage of food, water and pasture for both humans, livestock and wildlife is likely to persist for some time and advised the National and County governments as well as humanitarian organizations to continue with measures being implemented to avert loss of lives, livelihoods and livestock.
The health sector while presenting their findings during the forecast warned of possible outbreaks of Dengue fever along the coastal areas, Chikungunya in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands(ASALs) as well as yellow fever and urged the Ministry of Health to provide sufficient supplies of medicines in the affected areas.
They further noted that around the Lake Victoria region there could be a surge in cholera and typhoid outbreaks.
The Weatherman is further warning that there will be an expected rise in water levels in Lake Victoria and the Rift Valley lakes owing to the expected enhanced rainfall in the catchment areas that serve the lakes.
She noted that the global drivers of the current weather system that will ensure the enhanced rainfall in the country include; the Neutral Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), negative El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Quasi-Biennial Oscillation (QBO) as well as the Madden-Julian Oscillation (MJO), with “the peak of the rains expected to be in the month of April for most regions except over the Coastal Strip where the peak is expected during the month of May.”
The Director called for maximisation of agricultural productivity during the season that will the country well covered by the expected enhanced rainfall.
“The Lake Victoria Basin, Highlands West and East of the Rift Valley, the South and Central Rift Valley, Southeastern lowlands are advised to take advantage of the expected rains and maximize on crop yield through appropriate farming and land-use management practices,” said Aura.
She also noted that the prolonged drought that is being experienced in the ASAL region, which has led to land degradation, will lead to further soil erosion.