By Gift Briton

Most parts of the country are likely to remain sunny and dry during the month of January with occasional rainfall expected over some parts, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) predicts.

According to the weather body, some areas around Lake Victoria basin (Siaya, Busia, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Vihiga, Kakamega), Southern Rift Valley (Bomet, Kericho, Narok), the south-eastern lowlands (Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta), parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley including Nairobi County (Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu and Nairobi) and parts of the coastal region are likely to experience occasional light to moderate  rainfall during the month.

KMD also notes that high day time (maximum) temperatures are expected in both the North-eastern and North-western regions during the month. Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo, Mandera and Marsabit, Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu counties are likely to experience high temperatures of up to 40 degrees Celsius during the day with sunny and dry conditions expected to prevail throughout the month.

Furthermore, the dry condition is expected to prevail in the next three months over most parts of the country with occasional rainfall expected in the months of January and February over some parts of Lake Victoria and Southern Rift Valley regions. However, rainfall is expected to spread over several parts of the country in March except over some parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley and the South-eastern lowlands that are likely to remain sunny and dry though rainfall may occur for a few days.

The northeast and northwest regions are expected to remain generally hot and sunny throughout the forecast period with warmer-than-average temperatures expected over most parts of the country except over some areas in the western part where they are expected to be near average. Maximum temperatures over the northeast and northwest are expected to be high and may occasionally rise beyond 37 degrees Celsius.

Meanwhile, a review for October to December 2022 short rains indicates that rainfall distribution both in time and space was poor throughout the country. According to KMD, the poor rainfall performance over several parts of the country was mainly a result of the La Nina conditions owing to the prevailing cooler-than-average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) in the central and eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean and the warmer-than-average Sea Surface Temperatures in the Western Equatorial Pacific Ocean.

The seasonal rainfall analysis shows that below-average rainfall was received over North-western, North-eastern, Coast, most stations over the South-eastern lowlands, several stations over the Highlands East of the Rift Valley including Nairobi County and a few stations over the Highlands West of the Rift Valley and Central Rift Valley. Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Narok, Eastleigh, Thika, Makindu, Nyahururu, Kisumu, Embu and Kitale stations recorded near-average rainfall at 124.7%, 123%, 95.7%, 95.1%, 88.7%, 81.9%, 81.1%, 79.1%, 77.4%. 77.2% and 76% respectively.

The highest seasonal total rainfall amount of 588.2mm was recorded at Kericho meteorological station with other stations recording significant amounts of rainfall including Kakamega (532.6mm), Kisii (514.2mm), Meru (404.9mm), Embu (383.1mm), and Thika (319.0mm). Other stations recorded between 100- 295mm except for Machakos, Marsabit, Mandera, Msabaha, Wajir and Lodwar reported 60.6mm, 53.5mm, 52.5mm, 47.1mm, 30.2mm and 8.5mm respectively.