The National Drought Management Authority has warned of a possible La Niña between October and December.
La Niña is a weather phenomenon that cools surface water over the central and eastern Pacific, inhibiting the formation of rain clouds and leading to below-average rainfall in the Horn of Africa.
The Meteorological Department last month gave a forecast of enhanced rainfall over much of the country during the October-December short rains.
Director Peter Ambenje said in September most parts will start receiving rains from October to November with a long dry spell likely to be experienced in December.
But the early warning drought bulletin released yesterday by the NDMA gave three possible scenarios for the months ahead.
“If the short rains start on time and are above normal in line with the forecast, then drought-affected areas will recover, but will need continued support for some weeks to facilitate this,” it said.
In the second scenario, the authority said if the short rains start late but then perform well, this will further aggravate the drought in many areas. This means more counties will be in need of response measures in October and part of November.
“In the third scenario, if short rains perform poorly due to La Niña conditions, the drought situation will become acute and reach emergency levels during the next dry season between January and March 2018,” it said.
The authority said drought conditions remain critical in Garissa, Isiolo, Kajiado, Kilifi, Marsabit, Narok, Samburu, Tana River, and Wajir counties.
The bulletin said there is acute water stress, livestock mortality is rising and milk production and livestock prices are well below normal in these nine counties.