Friday, March 25, 2016

Forecast indicates depressed rains in most parts of Kenya

By Bob Aston
The Kenya Meteorological Services forecast indicates most parts of Kenya will experience depressed rainfall during the March-May 2016 “Long-Rains” Season. Speaking during a two day Participatory Scenario Planning (PSP) Workshop at Agricultural Machinery Services (AMS) Hall in Nyahururu on March 23-24, 2016, Mr. Simon Gichomo, Laikipia County Kenya Meteorological Department Director, said that some areas would receive near average rainfall while others will experience slightly enhanced rainfall.
He said that most parts of Western, Central, and some Northern Counties will likely experience near average rainfall while the Coastal strip is likely to experience slightly enhanced rainfall. Eastern part of the Country is likely to realize depressed rainfall.
Mr. Simon Gichomo from the Meteorological Department showing participants the long rains forecast
“March to May constitutes a major rainfall season in most parts of Kenya as well as much of equatorial Eastern Africa,” said Mr. Gichomo.
He said that the latest forecast indicates that most parts of the Country will start receiving rainfall during either the last week of March or first week of April. The better part of the eastern sector, especially North Eastern Kenya is likely to experience the onset of the long rains during the first to second week of April.
 “Weather forecasts are unpredictable and the weather keeps on changing hence it is important to use 24-hour forecasts and regular updates from the meteorological department,” said Mr. Gichomo.
He said that the long rains would end in most parts of the Country by end of May apart from the counties in the Lake Basin, highlands west of the Rift Valley, Central Rift Valley, and the Coastal strip, which will receive rainfall in June.
He said that April forecast indicates near average rainfall in the Western highlands, Lake Victoria Basin, Central Rift Valley, Central highlands including Nairobi, the Coastal strip, and Northern Kenya. North Western, North Eastern, and South Eastern Counties forecast indicate likelihood of depressed rainfall in April.     
May forecast indicates there will be enhanced rainfall along the Coastal strip. Average rainfall with a slight tendency to above average is likely to occur over the western and central highlands. Forecasts for other parts of the Country indicate depressed rainfall in May.
“The expected late onset and poor temporal distribution of the seasonal rainfall has already delayed planting in Laikipia County,” said Mr. Gichomo.
He said that farming communities from Counties in Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central highlands and coastal strip should take advantage of the expected good rains and maximize crop yield through appropriate land-use management.
Forecast for Laikipia County indicates that Igwamiti, Marmanet, Githiga, Sossion, Salama, Segera, Ngobit, Nanyuki, Thingithu, and Ol-Moran will receive between 114-227 mm, which is below normal rainfall. Mukogondo West and Umande prediction indicates that the areas will receive normal rainfall at 228-341 mm, while Tigithi and Mukogondo East will receive between 342-456 mm, which is normal rainfall. Rumuruti area will receive the lowest rainfall at 1-113 mm.
He said that the prevailing and the expected evolution of Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTAs) over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic Oceans as well as other Synoptic, Mesoscale and local factors that affect the climate of Kenya helped in the formulation of the March to May 2016 forecast.
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