The Kenya Meteorological Department has predicted that the current dry and hot conditions in the country will continue to prevail and as a result affecting the long rains that usually start in March and end in April.
“A Tropical Cyclone known as “IDAI” located in the Mozambican Channel for several days has played a key role in delaying the northward movement of the rain-bearing Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ). The cyclone significantly reduced moisture influx into the country and this led to the continued sunny and dry weather conditions over the better part of the country” said the met department in its seasonal update.
The met department has therefore said that the long rains are expected to start in April, contrary to the March trend, in most parts of the country, especially in western Kenya, central Rift valley, Northern Kenya and the central highlands including Nairobi.
The department has further said that in April 2019, near-normal to above-normal rainfall is expected over most parts of the country and more so in western Kenya, central Rift Valley, Northern Kenya (Marsabit, Moyale) and the central highlands including Nairobi.
Depressed rainfall is, however, likely to occur over Northwestern Kenya.
Potential Impacts of Late Onset of Long Rains
Kenya Meteorological Department has said that the expected late onset and poor distribution of the long rains are likely to impact negatively on the agricultural sector leading to food insecurity.
This is because the Long Rains season constitutes an important rainfall season in Kenya and more so in the Western, Rift Valley and Central regions. This seasonal rainfall highly impacts on the agricultural sector in the country and hence, food security.
Cases of flooding in flood-prone areas such as Budalang’i and Kano areas and also landslides/mudslides in areas such as Murang’a are still probable. The meteorological department has therefore advised the National Disaster Operations Centre to be on standby in order to ensure mitigation of any negative impacts that may arise.
“The expected prolonged dry spells are likely to result into reduced water levels in the Seven Forks, Turkwel and Sondu Miriu catchment areas. Flash floods are still likely to occur in Western Kenya, Central Rift Valley and Central Highlands” said the met department in the seasonal update.
Review of The Weather During the First Half of March 2019.
Generally sunny and dry weather conditions prevailed over most of the country during the first half of March 2019.
Several regions, however, in the Western highlands such as Kisii, Nyamira, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Kakamega, Busia, Homa Bay, and Kericho recorded substantial amounts of rainfall as earlier predicted.
Some parts of Central Highlands (Kiambu, Meru, and Nairobi) also experienced some rainfall.
During the first two weeks of the month, high daytime and nighttime temperatures were recorded over most parts of the country.
The highest daily maximum daytime temperature of 41.00C was recorded at Mandera station on 9th March, while Lodwar station recorded 40.50C on 3rd March 2019. This is because of the persistent high pressures over the Arabian region and the tropical cyclones in the western Indian Ocean