HOPE FOR FARMERS

Rains return this week, says Met

Some people had planted while others were preparing to sow before the short dry spell set in.

In Summary

• 'Rainfall amounts are likely to increase over most parts of the country as the forecast period progresses.' 

• There is fear the cold and rainy season will increase spread of Covid-19.

Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
PLANTING AT LAST: Farmers plant maize in Cherangany, Trans Nzoia county
Image: FILE

Rains will be back at the end of this week, the Meteorological department has said. 

Western Kenya is already wet, and by Monday, the entire country will have at least evening showers.

The forecast, announced by Met director Stella Aura, restores hope for thousands of farmers who had planted or were preparing to plant before the short dry spell set in one week ago. 

"Rainfall amounts are likely to increase over most parts of the country as the forecast period progresses," Aura said in a forecast ending Monday next week. 

Areas around Lake Victoria are likely to experience scattered morning rains, afternoon showers, and thunderstorms over several places throughout the period. Evening showers are expected on Thursday.

She said central Kenya, including Nairobi, Embu and Meru, will have sunny mornings, except on Friday when it will rain.

"Afternoon showers will increase to several places from Wednesday. Evening showers are likely to occur over a few places throughout," Aura said. 

In northeastern Kenya, afternoon showers are expected over a few places daily, except on Friday when they may spread to several places.

Ukambani, Kajiado and Taita Taveta are likely to experience morning rains over a few places from Friday and evening showers in few places beginning today. 

At the Coast, afternoon showers are expected over a few places on all days and increase on Friday and Saturday.

"Evening showers are expected over a few places on Tuesday and Friday. The rest of the nights are expected to be partly cloudy," Aura said. 

She advised farmers to consult with extension workers on the best crops for this season.

However, the rains have also stoked fears because, in Kenya, the rainy and cold season tends to be synonymous with sickness, with people suffering from colds and flu. There is fear the same might hold for Covid-19.

However, an infectious diseases specialist at Aga Khan University Hospital, Prof Rodney Adam, told the Star it is not yet known what role weather plays on the spread of Sars-CoV-2, the virus that causes the disease.

"There is no reason to believe that the rainy season will affect the spread of Covid-19. Whether there is a role for the climate we don't know that yet," he said. 

"The best environment for the virus is 37-40 degrees so all they need is to jump from one human host to another."

Covid-19 was first reported to the World Health Organisation as pneumonia of unknown cause in Wuhan, on December  31, 2019. By yesterday, Kenya at least 16 Kenyans confirmed cases.

What causes influenza and colds to spread faster in the winter is not perfectly understood, Prof Adam said.

"Even for influenza, it is not conclusively understood why it is more prevalent in the cold season," he told the Star.