By Mary Hearty

Kenya has been experiencing a lot of rainfall and low temperatures from March, April, May 2019, extending all the way to 2020, especially the western region unlike other previous years.

“The weather that we have been experiencing in western region of Kenya has been so good in terms of the amount and distribution. There has been reduced temperature and some kind of rain which are extending nonstop as a result of climate change. Now, the drivers of weather over those places have drastically changed,” David Koros, principal meteorologist at the Kenya Meteorological department said during an interview with Africa Science Media Centre (AfriSMC).

“For instance, improved tree cover in Mau and Cherengani forests, and other places have helped in supplying more moisture in that region compared to other parts of the country. Apart from the forests, Western Kenya is approximate to Lake Victoria which is a good source of moisture,” He noted.

Many people have been advocating for right to plant trees. People are being encouraged to plant trees, and not to cut them wherever they are including their households and in forests.

“Vegetation is one of the greatest components in terms of the weather because it is supplying the water vapour. This has helped in the formation of clouds and precipitation thus continuous rainfall in the western parts of Kenya,” Koros explained.

He further explained that the satellite used by the Kenyan meteorological Department shows improved cloudiness in the Congo basin and western parts of the country. Moisture from the Congo basin has been distributing to Uganda, Rwanda and the Western Kenya, and this has also resulted to heavy rainfall in those regions.

Furthermore, this kind of rain is expected to continue all the way to January, February, and March and so on. Although, there will be a reduction of the amount.

David Koros showing the cloudiness on their satellite monitoring devices

“The reduced amount of rainfall we are expecting in 2021 is not going to be so low; nevertheless, the expectation is not going to be like what we experienced in 2019 to 2020,” Koros said.

Moreover, there have been strong winds experienced in most parts of the country especially over the Eastern to the North Western region of Kenya.

“Whereby, we had wind speed and strength going up to 40 knots around Marsabit as well as Turkana. And these strong winds have been so good in helping the wind mill in generating electricity. These winds are also likely to cause a second wave of locust invasion as they aid in their migration to eastern parts of the country like Tana River and Garissa among others.”

Koros acknowledged that the Kenya Meteorological Department has improved their accuracy with time. “We have improved the system that we are using to come up with accurate information and predictions. We are using internal systems of doing verification, at the same time, we are getting feedback from the public more so over the western part of Kenya that the predictions we tell them come to pass.”

The meteorological department have helped people around rivers like Budalangi through the production of weather forecasts. The department informs them when it is likely to rain, and the amount of rainfall expected. Consequently, they have been able to save their lives and properties.

“We are working hand in hand with all the county meteorological directors especially in the western region, whereby they disseminate whatever is produced at the headquarter level to the community level,” he said.

“Our county meteorological information officers are the ones who distribute these information to the common citizens. Then, we get the feedback through the media. The media has helped us in dissemination of information to reach the community and in identifying the areas that we need to improve on.”

Moreover, the department has also collaborated with other regional bodies at the national and county level.

“Weather does not have a boundary, so the system we are using to forecast is also international. The system being used in either France, UK, USA or South Africa, are the same. We have also undergone the same training in terms of capacity building,” Koros noted.