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Long rains will be poor, says weather agency in review

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The Director of Meteorological Services Stella Aura. PHOTO | EVANS HABIL | NMG

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Summary

  • The latest prediction indicates that the long rain season will be poorly distributed across the country.
  • The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) director Stella Aura said the distribution for the remainder of the season will be generally poor, a move likely to affect this year’s crop.
  • Ms Aura attributed the poor rains to low pressure over the southern hemisphere and the high pressure over the northern hemisphere, which has made it unfavourable for the country to receive the rains.

Farmers who planted earlier are at a crossroads after the meteorological department revised forecast of good showers.

Now, the latest prediction indicates that the long rain season will be poorly distributed across the country.

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) director Stella Aura said the distribution for the remainder of the season will be generally poor, a move likely to affect this year’s crop.

Ms Aura attributed the poor rains to low pressure over the southern hemisphere and the high pressure over the northern hemisphere, which has made it unfavourable for the country to receive the rains.

Long rains normally run from March-May and it is the most important period in the farming calendar in Kenya.

“… the spatial and temporal distribution of the rainfall for the remainder of the season is expected to be generally poor over the whole country,” said Ms Aura.

Huge losses

She said in May, the western part of the country is likely to experience enhanced rainfall with near-average rains expected over the central and the southern lowlands while coastal and northeastern regions will get below-average showers.

The latest forecast comes as a blow to farmers who had planted when it rained for a few days before stopping as the seed is unlikely to germinate well, subjecting farmers to huge losses at a time the prices of fertiliser and seed have skyrocketed.

This means that the farmers may have to replant or be forced to change from maize to other crops, a move that will negatively impact on food production in the country.

An earlier prediction by the weather desk had indicated that the country was set to receive adequate rains ahead of the main planting season in March, a move that saw the farmers carry out dry planting in anticipation of good rains.

The KMD had said the long rains seasons, which was forecasted to start in the third or fourth week of next month will be adequate for the entire planting season.

The agency had also warned of flooding in Budalang’i, Nyando and Baringo as well as in the South-Eastern lowlands, Tana- River and Garissa counties.

The agency further noted that around the Lake Victoria region there could be a surge in cholera and typhoid outbreaks.

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