WETTER THAN NORMAL

Heavy rains to continue in western and coastal regions – ICPAC

Expected rainfall is likely to trigger more potential floods and flash floods

In Summary
  • The forecast comes at a time when the Kenya Meteorological Department warned of a likelihood of enhanced rainfall over the western half of the country.
  • Dr Artan said the Greater Horn of Africa stands as a region that is highly susceptible to the adverse impacts of climate change.
Officials from the Kenya Red Cross rescue residents stranded in a flooded house at Mwasmbweni Estate in Voi, Taita Taveta County on December 4, 2023
Officials from the Kenya Red Cross rescue residents stranded in a flooded house at Mwasmbweni Estate in Voi, Taita Taveta County on December 4, 2023
Image: FILE

Several parts of the Western and Coastal region will continue to receive above-normal rainfall in the latest forecast by the weatherman.

The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) said the June to September 2024 seasonal forecast has indicated an increased likelihood of wetter-than-normal conditions over the regions.

The enhanced rainfall is likely to reduce in intensity towards the end of June.

On Tuesday, ICPAC said the highest probabilities for wetter than usual conditions are also indicated in the cross-border areas of Ethiopia and Uganda.

The expected enhanced rainfall is likely to trigger more potential floods and flash floods in Kenya.

The ICPAC director Dr Guleid Artan said the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) stands as a region that is highly susceptible to the adverse impacts of climate change.

The impacts of climate change, he said, pose significant challenges to the resilience of communities in the region.

Speaking during the 67th Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum in Juba, South Sudan, Dr Artan reaffirmed the ICPAC’s commitment in providing information that is relevant and key for early action to avert the adverse effects.

“As we observe these recurring climate extreme events, it becomes important to acknowledge the pivotal role played by early warning systems which serve as key instruments of preparedness, guiding us through variability in the climate system,” he added

Other areas expected to experience above-normal rainfall in the GHA include Djibouti, Eritrea and northern Ethiopia. Others are central and western Sudan and southern South Sudan.

“The climate patterns in the JJAS 2024 period closely resemble those of 1998 and 2010, both of which experienced wetter-than-normal conditions over much of the region,” Dr Artan said while issuing the seasonal forecast on Tuesday.

The forecast comes at a time when the Kenya Meteorological Department warned of a likelihood of enhanced rainfall over the western half of the country and parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley, including Nairobi and the Coastal region.

The weatherman said the heavy downpour is a result of a Tropical Storm IALY, said to be currently present over the South-West Indian Ocean.

The Kenya Met said the Tropical Storm IALY is also expected to occasion large waves over the Indian Ocean.

"Strong southerly winds are anticipated over the eastern sector of the country. Heavy rainfall off the coast of Kenya may occasionally propagate inland," the Kenya Met said.

The heavy rainfall is likely to be accompanied by gusty winds, large ocean waves in the Indian Ocean and strong southerly winds in the eastern region.

It said water levels in rivers, lakes and dams are expected to remain high.

So far, an estimated 291 people have been killed, 188 injured, and 75 missing as a result of heavy rains and floods between 1 March and 16 May 2024, according to Government Spokesperson Isaac Mwaura.

Further 278,380 people have been displaced while approximately 412,763 others have been affected by the floods.

On the other hand, ICPAC says, parts of northern Somalia, isolated areas over western Ethiopia and north-western South Sudan are expected to experience drier-than-normal conditions.

Further, temperature is expected to be warmer than average over much of the region with higher probabilities over northern Sudan, parts of Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi & Tanzania.

The increased temperature is likely to trigger a recurrence of extreme heatwaves in parts of South Sudan.

An earlier heatwave that hit the country in March forced the closure of schools due to excessive heat.

National Meteorological and Hydrological Services across the region have recorded an increasing number of temperature extremes, with 2023 becoming the world's hottest year on record.

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