Kenyans were on Tuesday put on high alert over the possibility of floods, landslides and storms in several parts of the country.
The weatherman warned the nation to expect rainfall of more than 20 millimetres in the north east, central, Nairobi, south east and Coast. Most regions will be wet the whole of this week, said the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD).
"Rainfall is expected to intensify to more than 40mm in 24 hours from Thursday to Sunday over the Coast, south eastern, north eastern, western and central regions, including Nairobi," said the weatherman.
People in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi, parts of Tana River and Lamu should be on the lookout for floods.
Torrential rainfall is also expected in Nairobi, Nyeri, Kiambu, Nyandarua, Murang'a, Embu, Meru, Kirinyaga, Tharaka-Nithi, Kitui, Machakos, Makueni, Taita Taveta, Busia, Kisii, Nyamira, Kericho, Bomet, Nakuru and Narok.
The same applies to Migori, Nandi, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo Marakwet, Vihiga, Bungoma, Homa Bay, Busia, Kisumu, Siaya, Kakamega, parts of Kajiado, Marsabit, Mandera and Wajir.
"Floods may suddenly appear even in places where it has not rained heavily, and they can be deeper and faster than they look, especially in semi-arid and urban areas," stated the meteorological department.
As such, the weatherman has advised residents to avoid driving through or walking in moving water or open fields, and to refrain from sheltering under trees and standing or sitting near grilled windows to minimise exposure to lightning strikes.
People in landslide-prone areas, especially over the slopes of Aberdares and Mt Kenya should be on high alert. "The heavy rains and moderate-to-strong winds may result in storm surges along the Coast; hence fishermen and all in the marine industry should be on high alert," warned KMD.
Last month, the department predicted that the October-November-December rainfall will be enhanced over most parts of the country.
Unlike last year when rains began 20 to 40 days late, this year's season has started early and is causing destruction.
Heavy floods have cut off villages in Marsabit, Wajir and Mandera counties, leaving many stranded after months of biting drought.
In Marsabit, residents in the affected areas are on the verge of starvation following depletion of food and water stocks. The county government and businesses are counting huge losses after the floods cut off roads.
The county is a key source of meat products consumed in Nairobi, Meru, Nakuru, Mombasa and neighbouring towns. Until yesterday, no rescue teams had arrived at Yaballo, Heilu, Dabel and Sessi areas, where locals have been trapped in their manyattas.
The cutting off of roads also means bad business as transporters have shunned the area, citing heavy losses incurred when their vehicles suffer mechanical breakdown or are swept away by floods.
Yaballo assistant chief Hassan Adan appealed for timely action from humanitarian agencies in evacuation of the trapped families, clean water and relief food. "Most families are trapped in this area with no shelter. Our greatest fear is for women and children, who are predisposed to all manners of risks," Mr Adan said.
In Mandera, floods-related livestock deaths have risen to 5,648. The Department of Agriculture estimates the current damages caused by floods at Sh215 million.
"In the five wards assessed, 1,786 hectares of crops have been affected, leading to an estimated loss of Sh215,220,000," reads a report by the department. Lafey chief Mahamed Saney said most pastoralists have lost livestock to cold in the area.
And in Buna, Bute and Gurar areas of Wajir, residents are seeking assistance after flash floods destroyed their homes and property.