By Judith Akolo
The Kenya Meteorological Department says several parts of the country will be generally dry and sunny during the month of August. In the monthly forecast signed by Director of Meteorological Service Dr. David Gikungu, the weatherman says temperatures are expected to be higher than average across the whole country.
He however notes that low temperatures will continue to be felt in the Highlands East of the Rift Valley, including Nairobi County, and parts of the southeastern lowlands. These areas are expected to experience occasional cool and cloudy conditions in August which may extend to early September and occasional rainfall in October.
According to the forecast, highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central and South Rift Valley are expected to receive rainfall throughout the forecast period. “This rainfall is likely to be below the August to October Long Term Mean (LTM),” says Gikungu.
The Coastal strip and the northeastern regions are expected to remain generally sunny and dry, “especially in August and September, but may experience occasional rainfall in October,” he adds.
Noting that the rainfall forecast for August 2023 is based on regression of Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs), SST gradients, the expected evolution of global SST as well as upper air circulation patterns over Western Kenya and the Coastal region and climatology, Dr. Gikungu said that cases of lightning strikes are likely over the Lake Victoria Basin and Highlands West of the Rift Valley especially in Kisii, Kisumu, Nandi, Bungoma (Mt. Elgon areas), and Kakamega Counties. “The public is advised not to shelter near metallic structures or under trees to prevent loss of life.”
The weatherman says that fog formation in the Highlands East of the Rift Valley (including Nairobi County) “may pose a danger to motorists due to low visibility,” says Dr. Gikungu and adds, that, “Drivers in affected areas are therefore advised to be cautious especially along the Kikuyu-Kinungi stretch of the Nairobi-Naivasha Highway.” The forecast further indicates that, fog may occasionally lead to interruption of operations at both, the Wilson Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Airports.
As part of the early warning the Weatherman says that due to the expected cool and chilly conditions, cases of respiratory diseases such as asthma, pneumonia, flu, and the common cold are likely to increase in areas such as Nairobi, the Highlands East of the Rift Valley, parts of the Central and South Rift Valley, and parts of the Highlands West of the Rift Valley.
“To avoid contracting diseases, the general public is advised to dress warmly and to follow the advice of the Health Authorities,” says Dr. Gikungu and adds, “They are also advised not to use charcoal jikos in poorly ventilated homes because they emit carbon monoxide gas, which can kill if inhaled.”
According to the forecast, water availability over the Arid and Semi Arid Lands (ASALs) may decline due to the dry weather conditions expected in these areas. Residents are advised to use the available water sparingly and embrace water conservation practices to ensure their water needs are met during the month.
The weatherman is encouraging residents in the ASAL areas to embrace rain water harvesting as well as monitoring of water levels in the hydro power generating dams to ensure power production is not disrupted by the depressed or dry conditions expected during the month.
The expected rainfall over the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, Lake Victoria Basin, Central and Southern Rift Valley is likely to sustain soil moisture for tree and vegetation growth. “The public is, therefore, advised to take advantage of this and plant trees in order to contribute to the national target forest cover while putting in place measures to conserve the environment.