DROUGHT PREDICTED

Rain to reduce countrywide, forecast shows

November is the peak month for the short rain season.

In Summary
  • Met says Western Kenya, which is currently experiencing heavy rain in many places, will see a drastic reduction.
  • The WMO says Kenya, which is experiencing La Niña, will be drier than normal early next year.
Headers water their livestock in Garissa
DROUGHT: Headers water their livestock in Garissa
Image: STEPHEN ASTARIKO

Rain will reduce slightly across the country beginning Wednesday, the Meteorological Department says.

Met says Western Kenya, which is currently experiencing heavy rain in many places, will see a drastic reduction of the amounts beginning Tuesday.

Head of department Stella Aura said the Coastal Strip and south-eastern lowlands (Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Kajiado and Taita Taveta counties ) have a bigger chance for rain on Tuesday and Wednesday. 

"Strong south-easterly winds of more than 25 knots are likely to occur over some parts of Turkana and Marsabit counties,"  she said. 

November is the peak month for the short rain season. 

However, the rain will drastically reduce next month and be succeeded by dry season. 

Last week, the World Meteorological Organisation warned Kenya and the rest of the Horn of Africa to prepare for a possible drought next year.

The WMO says the region, which is experiencing La Niña, will be drier than normal early next year.

La Niña is often associated with dry conditions in East Africa and heavy rains in Southern Africa.

The WMO said there is a 90 per cent possibility the ongoing rains will be depressed and dry conditions will continue through March, possibly until May.

This, added to the existing impacts from the desert locust invasion, may add to food security challenges in the region, it said.

United Nations humanitarian groups are already working with the WMO to identify areas most at risk of drought.

“WMO experts and humanitarian colleagues will convene in November to undertake a thorough analysis of the season ahead,” the organisation said in a statement.

This year’s La Niña is expected to be moderate to strong. The last time there was a strong event was in 2010-11, followed by a moderate event in 2011-12.

In a report of the 2010-11 La Niña, the Kenya Red Cross said that by January 2011 the severity of the situation did not yet warrant an emergency classification.

However, over the succeeding six months, the situation deteriorated rapidly as the 2011 long rains from March through May were depressed in Kenya. That was said to be the worst drought in 60 years in East Africa.

Between 2010 and 2012, the famine in Somalia killed about 260,000 people and led to an influx of about 400,000 new refugees into Kenya, according to the UN. The government declared the drought a national disaster on May 30, 2011.

Edited by Henry Makori