The weather outlook for the next three months indicates that most parts of the country will experience above-average rainfall, driven by the current El Nino conditions in the Eastern Equatorial Pacific coupled by a positive Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) that continues to strengthen.
The Kenya Meteorological Department says during the season, the North Eastern region and the Central highlands are expected to receive elevated probabilities of the rainfall received.
“This enhanced rainfall will be as a result of El Nino conditions in the Pacific Ocean while the IOD is positive in Indian ocean, hence the expected enhanced rainfall in November,” says the statement signed by the Deputy Director of Meteorological Services, Kennedy Thiong’o.
The weatherman further warns that, in some parts of the country, the rains will continue into January 2024, “, it’s important to note that the actual rainfall amounts can vary from year to year, depending on the strength of the El Nino event,” says Thiong’o and adds, “Rainfall cessation is likely to occur in several parts of the country in January 2024.”
According to the forecast, there is a significant risk of isolated storms developing, “and this weather pattern may lead to flooding in both areas prone to flooding, like the flood plains and locations with inadequate drainage systems, especially in urban settings,” says Thiong’o and adds, “Riverbanks are also susceptible to overflow, and flash floods can occur, primarily in regions with low-lying terrain such as Northeastern and Northwestern areas, the Southeastern lowlands, the Coastal region, Lake Victoria Basin, and segments of the Central and South Rift Valley.”
In order to safeguard lives and property, the weatherman is urging the public to refrain from venturing on foot or by vehicle through flooded areas or attempting to cross swollen rivers. There is also need to avoid walking through open spaces, sheltering under trees or sitting next to windows with metallic window panes during a rainfall downpour, to avoid lightning strikes.
Areas most affected by lightning include; the Lake Victoria Basin, South Rift Valley and Western parts of the country, notably in areas like Kisumu, Narok, Kisii, Nandi, Kakamega, West Pokot and Bungoma, specifically, Mt. Elgon areas.
The public is also cautioned against seeking shelter under trees or near metallic structures, particularly during rainy conditions adding that there is a possibility of landslides and mudslides over parts of the Highlands East and West of the Rift Valley, Central and South Rift Valley as well as parts of Southeastern lowlands.
Thiong’o says that there is a potential risk of waterborne and vector-borne diseases due to water source contamination resulting from flooding and the presence of stagnant water, which can serve as breeding grounds for disease-carrying insects like mosquitoes.
He further adds that, intermittent flash floods could result in the distraction of transportation infrastructure, “particularly in regions including the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, South Rift Valley, Tana River Basin, Northeastern, and sections of the Southeastern lowlands,” he says and adds, “Reduced visibility caused by the weather conditions may lead to a rise in road, marine, and aviation accidents,” and motorists are advised to take caution while driving in rainy conditions to minimize road accidents
The weatherman is advising the public to take advantage of the increased rainfall and adopt rainwater harvesting and storage practices.
The increased inflow into hydropower reservoirs is expected to boost hydropower generation and contribute to groundwater recharge for geothermal power production.
“However, it’s important to note that this heightened rainfall, along with accompanying winds, may lead to disruptions in power supply, potentially resulting in social and economic losses and damage to transmission infrastructure,” says Thiong’o in the seasonal weather update.