The weather outlook for the next three months indicates that the southern sector of the country is expected to receive occasional rainfall during the forecast period of February, March to April with rainfall expected to be above the February to April Long Term Mean.
According to the forecast released by the Director of Meteorological Service Dr. David Gikungu, temperatures are forecasted to be warmer than average, with maximum daytime temperatures in the northeast and northwest occasionally exceeding 37°C during the forecast period of February, March to April.
According to the forecast, the northern sector of the country is likely to remain generally dry in February and most of March and receive rainfall in April; “a few areas may be wet for a few days in February and March,” says Dr. Gikungu and adds, “the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) index is +0.27 °C for the week ending 28 January 2024; and El Niño conditions are still present.”
The outlook for the three months, February, March to April, indicates that the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central and South Rift Valley are likely to experience rainfall with some breaks during the forecast period.
“The Highlands East of the Rift Valley including Nairobi County, the Southeastern lowlands and the Coastal region are likely to experience sunny and dry conditions in February and the first half of March,” says Dr. Gikungu and adds, “occasional rainfall is likely in February over some areas, with April expected to be wet over several areas.”
The southern half of the country which has continued to receive rainfall from the short rains season is expected “to experience rainfall near to above the February to April Long Term Mean, that is the amount of rainfall received over this period will be above the usual.”
The northern parts of the country which received above normal rainfall during the short rains season, will remain predominantly sunny and dry weather in February and most of March, “with a few areas receiving brief wet spells, while April is projected to have widespread wet conditions in the northern regions,” he adds.
He is advising farmers to take advantage of the dry weather conditions in February to dry their crop harvests “and to prepare land in readiness for the coming planting season in the agricultural areas, and the public is encouraged to seek guidance from the Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development.”
The weatherman is warning of a likelihood of cases of lightning strikes occurring in parts of the South Rift Valley. “The public is advised not to shelter under trees or near metallic structures when it is raining.” The Kenya Meteorological Department says the occasional rains expected in the southern half of the country will sustain water availability. The public is encouraged to adopt rainwater harvesting and storage practices to take advantage of the rainfall.
“The increased inflow into hydropower reservoirs is expected to boost hydropower generation and contribute to groundwater recharge for geothermal power production,” says Dr. Gikungu and warns that water availability for both human and livestock use is expected to decline further, especially in the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands (ASALs) areas of the northern parts of the country as a result of the dry weather conditions, resulting in dry and scarce vegetation cover over the northern parts of the country. He is urging for measures that will aid in conserving the environment and prevention of land degradation.
The expected high temperatures in February in most parts of the country may lead to heat stress and heat-related discomforts, “The public is therefore advised to hydrate appropriately and avoid working in the open, especially in the afternoons,” says Dr. Gkunugu.