By Andrew Kaggwa, NECJOGHA
The Kenya Metrological Department (KMD) has predicted below average rainfall for most parts of the country for the October to December (OND) rainfall season.
“During OND 2021, it is expected that most parts of the country will experience depressed (below average) rainfall that will be poorly distributed in both time and space,” the seasonal outlook for OND released by KMD this week reads in part.
However, KMD warns that isolated incidences of storms that could cause flash floods are still likely to occur despite the expected depressed rains.
KMD explains that the reasons for the poor rainfall are the below average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the western Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to the East African coastline), coupled with warmer than average SSTs over the eastern Equatorial Indian Ocean (adjacent to Australia).
“This constitutes a negative Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that is not favourable for good rainfall over most of East Africa. Also, Equatorial Sea surface temperatures (SSTs) are near-to-below average across most of the equatorial Pacific Ocean which implies that El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) neutral conditions are present,” explains the outlook signed by Dr. Stella Aura, the Director of KMD.
KMD further goes on to say that most global climate and weather forecasting models predict La Nina condition is likely to develop over the OND season.
Among areas KMD predicts to receive below average (depressed rainfall) are: The Lake Victoria Basin, Highlands West of the Rift Valley and Central and South Rift Valley (Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Nandi, Kericho, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma, Busia, Laikipia, Nakuru and Narok counties);
Others are counties in North Western Kenya (Turkana, Samburu, West Pokot); counties over the Highlands East of the Rift Valley (Nyandarua, Kirinyaga, Nyeri, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nithi, and Nairobi County); counties in south-eastern Kenya (Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Machakos, Makueni and Kitui); North Eastern Counties (parts of Garissa, Marsabit and Isiolo); and counties in the Coast Region (Mombasa, Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu and Tana River).
While giving the expected impacts for several sectors, KMD says that the depressed rainfall during OND indicates a likelihood of drought that may worsen as the period progresses over most of the arid and semi-arid regions of northern and eastern Kenya.