The Kenya Meteorological Department has warned that there is an exceedingly high chance for the country to experience El Nino rains from October.
In a statement on Wednesday, August 30, the weatherman said there is a 99 per cent probability of the extremely high rainfall that is expected to last till January 2024.
Furthermore, the Met Department detailed areas that will be experience the high rainfall, in Lake Victoria Basin region, Kisii, Elgeyo Marakwet, Bungoma, Trans Nzoia, West Pokot, Vihiga, Laikipia, Nakuru and Narok counties.
Additionally, Rift Valley region areas like Gilgil, Narok town, and Suswa, are expected to experience flooding, while in the highlands east of the Rift Valley will experience season’s long-term average.
“The forecast also indicates a high probability that some counties in the Northeastern region are likely to experience above-average rainfall. This will be driven by warmer than average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean indicating the presence of El Nino conditions. According to most of the global climate models, El Nino conditions are likely to persist throughout the October, November and December season,” explained KMD.
Nairobi, and the North-Western counties of Turkana, Marsabit and Samburu, the department said that there will be above occasional the long-term average for the season.
Moreover, the Department revealed areas that have a likelihood of been the hotspots of the floods; Nyakach, Nyando, lower areas of River Nzoia, Winam Gulf, and lower areas of River Sondu in Western Kenya.
Wajir and Mandera counties will get the highest rainfall.
“The “Short Rains” October-November-December (OND) season constitutes an important rainfall season in Kenya, particularly in the Central and Eastern regions of the country. The highest seasonal rainfall amounts (greater than 700mm) are normally recorded over the Central highlands,” stated KMD.
Consequently, areas with seasonal rivers, Lodwar and Lockichar in the North-Eastern the rains are expected to be prevalent. This will also affect major urban areas like Nairobi, Mombasa, Nakuru and Naivasha.
Kenyans are also cautioned of landslides in parts characterized by waterlogged soil such as Murang’a, West Pokot, Elgeyo, Narok, Baringo, Mt. Elgon, Marakwet, Baringo and Nakuru, and Kericho.
Preparing for El Nino
The Kenya Red Cross called on Kenyans and the government to put in measures to avert possible disaster when the rains begin.
“Flooding is a quick-onset disaster. We must put in place interventions that will help us respond quickly when a disaster happens. This includes prepositioning materials, training responders and sensitizing communities on what actions to take,” Kenya Red Cross Secretary General Ahmed Idris said.
“We are delighted that the government is coordinating this early response preparedness through the Meteorological Department and other agencies. As Kenya Red Cross we will work with the Meteorological Department and other relevant agencies to cascade this information lowest level in communities to support effective preparedness at all levels.”
On its part, KMD clarified that the public should expect negative and positive effects of the rains in the last quarter of 2023.
“The forecasted enhanced rainfall during the months of October to December short rains season is expected to have both negative and positive impacts across various sectors. The most likely impacts on various sectors will be highlighted by the sector leads.”
According to the National Geographic, “El Niño is a climate pattern that describes the unusual warming of surface waters in the eastern tropical Pacific Ocean. El Niño is the “warm phase” of a larger phenomenon called the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO).”
Kenya first experienced El Nino rains in 1997, which came with devastating effects. The conditions were also experienced in 2016.