By Mike Mwaniki I email@example.com
Kenyans have been warned of impending destructive heavy rains due in October all the way to January.
According to the Director of Kenya Meteorological Department, Dr David Gikungu the rains will be accompanied with floods, landslides and disease outbreaks as a result of the conditions known as El Nino.
He added that the dire situation will persist in the following areas West Pokot, Kericho, Elgeyo Marakwet, Mt Elgon, Narok, Nakuru, Baringo, Murang’a and Kilungu in Makueni County.
“Meanwhile, floods hotspots were identified as Western Kenya region (along River Nyando in Nyakach and Nyando lower areas of River Nzoia, Winam Gulf and lower reaches of River Sondu.
“Others are Gilgil, Narok town, Suswa, Voi town, Mwatate, Tana River delta, Garissa, Lodwar, Lokichar. Flashfloods will be prevalent in North Eastern Kenya where they are many seasonal rivers as well as in Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Naivasha,”.
” The El Nino conditions are likely to persist throughout the October to December rainfall season. This is driven by the warmer than average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean,” he said.
At the same time, due to the heavy rainfall there is a possibility of population displacements, backflows and overflows in water bodies as well as incidences of drowning and damage to infrastructure.
However, all is not gloom and despondency. Several key sectors such as Agriculture and Livestock, Water and Energy are expected to experience positive impacts due to the heavy rainfall.
Speaking at the forum, a Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock official, Dr Mary Mwale said, “We expect a bumper harvest of 4.4 million metric tonnes of maize including in arid and semi-arid areas where farmers are recovering from five consecutive failed rainfall seasons resulting in devastating drought,”.
Dr Mwale added: “Currently, we are encouraging farmers in the region to plant early maturing crops and we have already registered 3.3 million of them to enable them access cheaper fertiliser which is now retailing at Sh2,500 (USD18) per bag from the previous Sh3,500 (USD25),”.
Due to the heavy rainfall, Dr Mwale noted, the country will experience surplus supply of agricultural produce resulting in decreased food commodity prices which will alleviate financial burdens on consumers.
At the same time, a Water Ministry official, Mr Carey Owiti noted that the heavy rainfall will result in increased ground and surface water in river channels and reservoirs amidst emergence of seasonal rivers.
In the Energy sector, the heavy rainfall will result in increased inflows into the hydropower reservoirs (Turkwel and Seven Forks) leading to more power generation from hydropower plants and less use of thermal power plants.
Earlier, Dr Gikungu, identified Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Bungoma, Kakamega, Busia, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Vihiga, Laikipia West, Nakuru and Narok Counties as areas where rainfall is expected to continue throughout the season.
“The expected rainfall is likely to be above the long-term average amounts for the season (enhanced rainfall) and the peak of the season is expected in November however it is likely to be poorly distributed in October, and well distributed in November and December,” added Gikungu.
Turkana and Samburu counties are likely to experience occasional rainfall during the season with the rainfall amount likely to be above the long-term average for the season.
Dr Gikungu added, “Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Laikipia East, Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi counties are likely to experience rainfall throughout the season,”.
Meanwhile, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Taita Taveta, and Kajiado counties are expected to experience rainfall whose amount is likely to be above the long-term average for the season.
“Mandera, Marsabit, Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo counties are expected to experience occasional rainfall with the amount likely to be above the long-term average for the season fairly distributed in both time and space,”.
Elsewhere, some parts of Wajir and Mandera are likely to experience highly enhanced rainfall while the Mombasa, Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale are expected to receive rainfall above the long-term average.