By Sharon Atieno
Most parts of Kenya will experience more than normal rainfall in the October-November-December season that will be well distributed both in time and space, says the Kenya Meteorological Department.
Western counties; Nyanza counties; counties in Southern, Central and North Rift valley (including parts of Kajiado); counties in Central Kenya; Nairobi county; counties in Eastern region (including parts of Isiolo); some counties in Southeastern Kenya (Machakos, western parts of Makueni and Kitui) and counties in North Western Kenya (Turkana, Samburu and western parts of Marsabit) will experience above normal rainfall.
Areas which will likely receive near-normal to slightly above normal rainfall include: North eastern counties (Mandera, Wajir, garissa, parts of Isiolo); Coast region counties and some counties in Southeastern Kenya (Taita Taveta, Makueni, Kitui and most of Tana River).
Though the distribution of the rainfall in time and space is expected to be generally good over most places especially during October and the peak month of November, dry conditions are likely to prevail over much of the country for most of December, the Climate Outlook for the October-November-December season indicates.
For the month of September, most parts of the country will experience generally sunny and dry weather conditions except western Kenya, Lake Basin region and Central Rift valley. However, the central regions will experience occasional cool and cloudy conditions and afternoon showers especially at the beginning of the month.
“In view of the forecasted rainfall, many sectors are likely to be impacted in various ways,” said Stella Aura, Director Meteorological services during the release of the forecast. “With adequate preparations, the country can avoid some of the likely negative impacts while taking full advantage of the positive ones.”
The enhanced rainfall is expected to not only be favourable for agricultural activities but also significantly improve foliage and pasture conditions in the pastoral areas of Northeastern, Northwestern and Southeastern Kenya.
Farmers are encouraged to liaise with the Ministry of Agriculture and start land preparation in readiness for planting as they wait for the onset of the rain in the first and second week of October.
In the environment and natural resources sectors, Kenyans are encouraged to take advantage of the expected good rainfall and plant trees in order to increase forest cover.
“In western Kenya where enhanced rainfall is expected, lightning strikes may occur especially in counties like Kisii, Kisumu, Kakamega and Bungoma (Mt. Elgon areas),” Aura notes. “Cases of flooding are also highly probable.”
In the transport and public safety sector, motorists and other road users are cautioned that the expected rainfall may cause slippery roads in some parts of the country which may result to accidents.
“Flash floods may cause transport challenges during rush hours and even more in areas where the roads become impassable,” she adds.
While the expected rainfall will boost the energy sector with major river catchment areas for hydro-electric power generating dams forecasted to receive almost normal to above normal rainfall, poorly drained areas may cause pools of stagnant water which may become breeding grounds of disease causing pathogens.