MORE GLOOM

Expect a very wet Christmas, warns the weatherman

Department revises forecast which had predicted rains would end in second week of December

In Summary

•October-December 2019 rainy season is likely to last until end of the month

•Areas around Lake Victoria and Rift Valley highlands will be hit by storms

Heavy rain caused massive flooding in Turkana
DOWNPOUR: Heavy rain caused massive flooding in Turkana
Image: HESBORN ETYANG

Heavy rain will continue until Christmas, extending the current flooding misery for three more weeks, the weatherman has warned.

The flooding might trigger more landslides and displace more people.

Met said the rain this month will definitely exceed the highest amounts experienced in December in recent years.

 
 

"This coupled with the already saturated grounds is likely to continue causing floods and landslides especially in lowlands and poorly drained areas," said David Gikungu, a deputy director at the Meteorological Department. 

The department revised its October forecast which had predicted the rains would end the second week of December.

The current forecast predicts it will wane in the last week of this month. 

"The October-November-December 2019 seasonal rainfall is likely to cease during the fourth week of December over several parts of the country," Gikungu said. 

He said the rains are driven by an unusually warm Indian Ocean around East Africa, whose evaporation is dumping huge amounts of moisture inland.

Areas around Lake Victoria and the Rift Valley highlands will be hit by several nasty storms. 

"Heavy runoff generated during severe storms is likely to lead to flooding and disruption of transport systems in low lying and poorly drained areas," Gikungu said. 

 
 

The monthly forecast said in Central Kenya (Nairobi, Embu, Nyeri, Meru and neighbouring regions), the rain will grow in intensity as the month progresses.

Occasional episodes of heavy rainfall accompanied by strong winds may occur, resulting in floods.

"Continuous rainfall may cause landslides and mudslides in the hilly parts of Central Kenya," Gikunju said in a statement. 

An analysis of the rains last month shows most regions received more than 200 per cent the average rains for November.

Mombasa meteorological station recorded 289 per cent of its monthly mean for November.

Other stations that recorded more than 200 per cent include Lamu, Msabaha, Malindi, Mtwapa, Wajir, Narok and Mandera.

 Up to November 27, Karurumo rainfall station in Embu recorded the highest total rainfall amount of 655.1mm followed by Meru.

More than 160,000 people have been affected by floods or landslides since the onset of the short rains in October, according to the Kenya Red Cross Society.

The National Disaster Operation Centre says at least 130 people have been killed in flood-related accidents including landslides. 

However, the Famine Early Warning System Network, which is supported by Usaid, notes the impact on farming is positive. 

Fewsnet says milk production has risen to above-average levels in Garissa, Marsabit and Wajir and is rising in other counties.

"In marginal agricultural areas, food access for poor households is improving, driven by rising agricultural labor demand that has increased household income to near-normal levels," the report released last week says.

The harvest early next year is likely to be good because farmers have planted typical drought-tolerant varieties of crops such as maize, sorghum, millet, beans, and green grams.

Cropping conditions remain widely favorable and current crop developmental stages range from germination to first weeding.

"Above-normal rangeland conditions and favorable crop production are expected overall, but flood-induced property loss, crop loss, or above-normal livestock disease incidence and mortality is likely in localized areas," the warning says.