Department says drought will persist until end month as rain bearing winds are ‘sitting’ in Tanzania owing to low pressure.
The long rains will properly pound most parts of the country towards the end of the month, weather experts have said.Acting Kenya Meteorological Department Director Stella Aura explained that the rain bearing winds were “sitting” in Tanzania owing to low pressure systems to push them northwards to Kenya.April is the peak month for the for the long rains which are key to Kenya’s planting calendar and alarm has been sounded in most parts of the country over the delay.
“The seasonal rains are caused by the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) but currently it has not moved northwards,” she told The Standard.“It is sitting in Tanzania, the high pressure systems in the south have not strengthened to the point that they will push the ITCZ so there will just be a delay, but the rains will come towards the end of the month,” she said.She, however, said that long rains have started but were in “patches” and not well organised.
Long rains span the months of March, April and May but their performance has been lacklustre this year, prompting fears of an impending drought.Ms Aura also said that Cyclone Idai which caused havoc in Mozambique, Zimbabwe and Malawi had delayed the onset of the long rains.
“The cyclone is gone, but when rains started in March (long rains start in Western Kenya), then the cyclone came it interfered but it is not the one affecting the current delayed rains,” she said.She said the rains did not behave like this way last year.
“Normally when they come late there may be flash floods and they end quickly,” she said.The March-April-May ‘long rains’ especially in the Western, Rift Valley and Central regions are highly-impactful in the agricultural sector and hence food security.
The department advised farmers to plant fast-maturing crops and drought resistant as the rains are not expected to last long.It also predicted that livestock in pastoral areas of Northeastern Kenya will be affected as rainfall there is expected to be average.
Those living in low-lying areas, including urban centres with have poor drainage systems, were also warned to expect floods.In western Kenya, cases of lightning strikes are expected to escalate while landslides and mudslides are expected to hit parts of central highlands including Murang’a and Meru among others.
Landslides might also affect parts of Western and Rift Valley also experience the same challenges.“Contingency measures should therefore be put in place to avoid any loss of lives and property,” advised Met.
Courtesy of the standard