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Thursday, 5 May 2016

May forecast indicates reduced rainfall intensity in most parts of Kenya

By James Maina
The month of May marks the cessation of the “Long Rains” season over most parts of the country except the Western highlands, parts of central Rift Valley and the Coastal strip.  The forecast also indicates reduced rainfall intensity in most parts of the Country.
The outlook for May 2016 indicates that Mombasa, Mtwapa, Kilifi, Malindi, Msabaha, Lamu, and other parts of the Coastal strip are likely to receive above normal rainfall. Most areas in the Western highlands like Kitale, Kakamega, Eldoret, Kericho, Kisumu, and Kisii are likely to experience near normal rainfall with a tendency to above normal.
Spatial map of rainfall totals in Kenya for 25th April to 1st May 2016
Northwestern Kenya (Lodwar, Lokichoggio, Lokitaung), Central Rift Valley (Narok, Nakuru, Nyahururu, Kajiado), Central highlands including Nairobi area (Embu, Nyeri, Meru, Murang’a, Kiambu, Dagoretti, Wilson, Thika, Kabete) and northern Kenya (Marsabit, Moyale) are likely to receive near normal rainfall with a tendency to above normal (enhanced rainfall).
The Northeastern Kenya (Mandera, Wajir, Garissa) as well as Southeastern Kenya (Machakos, Kangundo, Makindu, Voi, and Taveta among others) are likely to receive near normal rainfall tending to below normal (generally depressed rainfall).
The Kenya Meteorological Department forecast indicates that the seasonal rainfall would continue to June over the western and coastal regions. It is however likely to cease between the third and fourth week of May over the central regions including Nairobi, Northwestern Kenya and southern Rift Valley. Most of Northeastern and Southeastern regions will experience the cessation during the second to third week of May.
May forecast indicates good crop performance in the agriculturally high-potential areas of Kitale, Eldoret, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Nandi Hills as well as the Central region due to enhanced rainfall. However, the crop performance over most parts of southeastern Kenya is likely to be poor due to the expected depressed rainfall.
According to the Kenya Meteorological department, enhanced rainfall in Northwestern Kenya would lead to improved pastures for livestock. The situation is however likely to deteriorate in Northeastern Counties where depressed rainfall is forecasted. The problem of water scarcity for livestock is also likely to arise as time progresses.
Probability of lightning strike is high in Western Kenya especially within Kisii and Kakamega counties while flooding is highly probable along the coastal region, Budalang’i, and Kano area. Landslides in the prone areas such as Murang’a and Nyeri are still likely to occur especially during the first half of May. People living in such areas should be on the lookout to avoid loss of lives.
According to the Kenya Meteorological department, weather forecasts are unpredictable as the weather keeps on changing hence it is important to use 24-hour forecasts and regular updates from the meteorological department.
Regression of sea surface temperatures (SSTs), SST gradients and the expected evolution of global SST patterns as well as upper air circulations patterns on Kenyan rainfall helped in the formulation of the May 2016 rainfall forecast.
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