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Cyclone Hidaya declared over after landfall on Mafia Island in Tanzania –Kenya Met. Dept.

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The Kenya Meteorological Department says Tropical Cyclone Hidaya made landfall over Mafia Island in Tanzania bringing ending its existence over the Indian Ocean.

The Director of Meteorological Services Dr. David Gikungu in a statement says the clouds accompanying the Cyclone Hidaya have also weakened and spread out in various directions.

The hair raising Cyclone Hidaya gained speeds of over 150 kilometers per hour, but by the time it made landfall over Mafia Island it had reduced to 95 kilometers per hour with the winds continuing into Morogoro at 55 kilometers per hour.

Dr. Gikungu however warns that beginning Monday through to Tuesday, heavy rains accompanied by strong winds will be experienced along the coastal strip affecting the counties of Kwale, Mombasa, Kilifi and Lamu.

“The public in the coastal region and individuals involved in marine activities in the Indian Ocean are asked to take maximum precaution,” says Dr. Gikungu

He notes that the continuing rainfall in the Lake Victoria catchment areas in the Mau Forest, the Cherangany Hills and Nandi Hills could see the backflow from Lake Victoria continuing to cause flooding in the region’s counties of Homa Bay, Kisumu, Busia, Migori and Siaya.

The Western sector of the country, the central region and Nairobi area is also expected to receive heavy rainfall, he warns that the continuing heavy rainfall in the central region and the overflow of the Severn Folks Dams, “is likely to exacerbate flooding in the Tana Delta, impacting Garissa, Tana River, and Lamu counties,” says Dr. Gikungu.

In the monthly weather forecast, the Kenya Meteorological Department says that while May marks the cessation of the “Long Rains” season, with rainstorms expected in some parts of the country which could see the monthly long term means exceeded.

This as the Kenya Meteorological Department predicts that the Coastal region and the Western sector of the country the rainfall will continues into June.

Changing weather patterns due to climate change could see more heavy rainfall being experienced even as the cessation of the long rains season begins. The long rains season occurs from March, April through to May, “the outlook for May 2024 indicates that several parts of the country are likely to experience near-average to above-average rainfall,” says the Kenya Meteorological Department statement and adds, “Occasional storms are also likely to be experienced.”

This as the Director of Meteorological Service, says that May also marks the peak of the Long Rains season along the Coastal Strip hence Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and Parts of Tana River “will receive near to above-average rainfall with occasional storms are also likely to be experienced,” says the weatherman.

Counties expected to continue receiving above normal rainfall with occasional storms in May include: Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Busia, Bungoma, Kisii, Nyamira, Bomet, Nandi, Kakamega, Vihiga, West Pokot, Elgeyo Marakwet, Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu, Baringo, Nakuru, Narok, Laikipia County, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu, Tharaka Nith, Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Taita Taveta and parts Tana River counties.

Occasional rainfall is expected during the month in the North-eastern Region of Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa, and Isiolo with total amounts of rainfall likely to be near to above-average in the region.

The Weatherman is warning that Flash floods are expected to disrupt transport activities in various regions of the country with “the anticipated floods posing a risk of causing structural damage to infrastructure such as roads, bridges, and sub-standard facilities,” says the Director in a statement and adds, “Consequently, transportation may be affected, with the possibility of property damage and loss of lives.”

He is urging the public to exercise caution while driving in rainy conditions and to refrain from crossing flooded roads to minimize the risk of accidents resulting from adverse weather conditions.

Dr. Gikungu says that there is a likelihood of flooding in low-lying areas and flood plains especially over the Lake Victoria Basin, the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Coastal region as well as in poorly drained urban centers where rainfall is expected. “Relevant authorities are therefore advised to put in place measures to avert possible negative impacts that may arise. County Governments are also advised to clear drainages in good time to avert artificial flooding of the urban areas,” says the Director and adds, “The public are advised not to drive or walk through flooded rivers or moving waters.”

The weatherman says cases of lightning strikes are still likely over the Lake Victoria Basin and Highlands West of the Rift Valley, especially in Kisii, Kisumu, Nandi, Bungoma County around the Mt. Elgon areas, and Kakamega Counties. “The public are advised not to shelter near metallic structures or under trees to avoid the risk of lightning strikes, which could lead to loss of life.”

The risk of vector-borne diseases, like Malaria, is anticipated, particularly in malaria endemic regions as well as waterborne diseases including cholera and typhoid, the health authorities are advised to strategically position and redistribute medical supplies and insect-treated nets in the affected areas. “Public health education efforts focusing on disease prevention, as well as initiatives promoting Water Sanitation and Hygiene (WASH), should be intensified to mitigate the spread of diseases among vulnerable communities.”

The forecast which also includes prediction for the next three months, May, June, July indicates that rainfall is expected over the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central and South Rift Valley as well as the Coastal region.

Judith Akolo
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