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Kenyans urged to keep warm as cold season begins

MET however says it will be slightly warmer than average for the season

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Among the potential impacts, the weatherman says is the fog formation in the areas that are expected to experience cold and cloudy conditions may pose a danger to motorists due to low visibility.

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) has announced the onset of the cold weather season in the Central Highlands and Nairobi area.

While releasing the June, July to August weather forecast, the Director of Meteorological Service Dr. David Gikungu said the counties of Laikipia, Meru, Embu, Kirinyaga, Nairobi, Kiambu, Murang’a, Tharaka Nithi and the South Eastern Lowlands of Machakos and Makueni areas are expected to experience cool and cloudy conditions.

In the forecast, the Weatherman noted that while it is the usual cold season, it will be slightly warmer than average for the season.

“While it is the usual cold season, it will be slightly warmer than average for the season,” says Dr. Gikungu is urging for anticipatory preparedness by the Ministry of Health as cases of respiratory diseases like asthma, pneumonia, flu, and the common colds may increase during the season.

“The public is being advised to adopt warm dress codes and avoid using charcoal jikos in poorly ventilated houses as they may produce carbon monoxide gas that is lethal when inhaled,” he says in the seasonal weather forecast.

The Weatherman is further warning of malaria transmission expected in the Lake Victoria Basin, the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, Northwestern Kenya and the Coastal region where warmer than average temperatures are expected.

Other effects of the cold weather are respiratory diseases and eye infections which are likely to occur over the Northeastern region due to dust storms during the season. “Health authorities are therefore advised to preposition and redistribute medical supplies and insect-treated nets in the affected areas,” he notes.

Dr. David Gikungu urges the transport sector to ensure precautionary measures as fog formation in the areas that are expected to experience cold and cloudy conditions may pose a danger to motorists due to low visibility. “Care should be taken while driving along the Nairobi-Nakuru Highway and particularly on the Kikuyu-Kinungi stretch in Kiambu County,” he cautions.

The forecast further indicates that light rains and drizzles may result in slippery roads and hence the need for motorists to take precaution and minimize accidents, while at the same time, “foggy weather is also likely to occasionally cause operational disruptions at the Wilson Airport and Jomo Kenyatta International Airports during the June, July to August cold weather season.

The Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, the Rift Valley, parts of the Highlands East of the Rift Valley, and Northwestern regions, including the counties of Turkana, West Pokot, Baringo, Kakamega, Bungoma, Vihiga, Kisumu, Migori, Nandi, Narok, Uasin Gishu, Bomet, Nyandarua, Nakuru, Kisii, Nyamira, and Homabay  are likely to receive above-average rainfall during the season.

Dr. Gikungu is warning that cases of isolated flooding are likely over the low-lying areas and flood plains especially over the Lake Victoria Basin and is urging the relevant authorities to put in place measures to avert possible negative impacts that could arise and is also cautioning residents not to walk or drive through flooded rivers or moving water.

“The above average rainfall is conducive for crop production,” says Dr. Gikungu and adds, ”the relevant authorities are advised to put in place pests and diseases surveillance, control and preventive measures while supporting farmers to increase productivity.” He is urging the public to utilize the above-average rainfall expected plant trees and help to increase forest cover.

The forecast further indicates that the Coastal Strip is expected to experience near to above-average rainfall. However, residents in areas expected to remain dry are advised to conserve and use the available water efficiently to ensure their water needs are met throughout the dry season.

Residents in areas expected to receive occasional rainfall are encouraged to practice rainwater harvesting in order to boost their water reserves. “Water levels in the hydropower-generating dams across the country are expected to remain at normal levels,” says Dr. Gikungu.

Judith Akolo
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