LONG DRY SEASON AHEAD

Rains to continue seven more days, says Met

Moisture appears to be coming from northern Tanzania

In Summary

• In a separate forecast for the entire month of January, Aura said the rains will end after the first two weeks.

• Aura said La Niña conditions, which lead to dry weather in Kenya, are still present.

Children wade through floods in Loruk near Lake Baringo recently.
Children wade through floods in Loruk near Lake Baringo recently.
Image: JOSEPH KANGOGO

Unseasonal rains in Central and Western Kenya will continue throughout this week, the Meteorological Department has predicted.

The light rains might help crops that were planted late last year during the delayed short rains. It will, however, not be enough to recharge groundwater ahead of the long dry season ahead.

Met director Stella Aura said the rains will spread over the Lake Victoria basin, Rift Valley highlands, Central Kenya, including Nairobi, and the southeastern lowlands towards Tanzania.

The rains appear to be spreading to Kenya from northern Tanzania, according to an image provided by the Met department.

“The Coastal Strip, northeastern and northwestern Kenya are likely to be generally dry,” Aura said.

Parts of Turkana and Marsabit counties will experience strong winds at high speeds, she said.

In a separate forecast for the entire month of January, Aura said the rains would end after the first two weeks.

“A few areas in western Kenya, especially those around the Lake Victoria basin, southern Rift Valley, the southeastern lowlands (Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta) and parts of central are, however, likely to experience occasional rainfall,” she said.

Aura said La Niña conditions, which lead to dry weather in Kenya, are still present.

January is a typically dry month suitable for harvesting, drying and storage of grains in agricultural areas. However, farmers have still not harvested their crops because they were planted late.

The December rains were also depressed and most meteorological stations recorded below 75 per cent of the December-long term averages.

Last week, the Famine Early Warning Systems Network, supported by USAID, warned of a decline in food security across Kenya.

Most affected will be people in eastern and northern Kenya, who will need relief food and livestock offtake by May.

The outlook said pastoral areas will be most affected because the short rains were below average and there are three dry months ahead.

The early warning platform advises farmers to sell some of their livestock through offtake programmes.

“The forecast below-average 2021 long rains are expected to lead to short-lived pasture and water regeneration, and gradual declines in livestock body conditions and production, limiting household access to food and income,” the FewsNet prediction said.

It said urban families will also suffer food shortages due to low incomes and higher-priced commodities impacting household purchasing power.

Kenya Livestock Marketing Council chairman Dubat Amey recently advised pastoralists in Northeastern to start selling their livestock to avoid losing them during the looming dry season.

According to the Nairobi-based Igad Climate Prediction and Application Centre, there will be hot weather in most parts of the country between now and March.