Kenya: Weather Warning of Heavy Rains Countrywide

3 December 2019

The heavy rains hitting many parts of the country will persist until the end of the month, the metrological department warned Tuesday.

The department urged Kenyans to be on the lookout for landslides and overflowing river banks.

Bernard Chanzu, who is the acting deputy director at the Kenya Meteorological Department, said most areas in Western Kenya, the Lake Basin region, and Rift Valley are expected to experience strong rainfall, whose intensity may likely subside towards the weekend.

"But the rest of the month is expected to be dominated by intermittent episodes of heavy and light rainfall up to the fourth week of December or the first week of January in different areas," said Mr Chanzu.

He explained that this unusual phenomenon called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Niño, has been triggered by the irregular fluctuation of sea-surface temperatures such that the western Indian Ocean bordering the East African shores becomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean leading to these extremely rainy conditions.

This year's Indian Ocean Dipole has been touted as among the strongest on record, a situation which, despite being favourable to the Indian subcontinent, has opposite effect for a number of other countries.

"Tanzania, Kenya, Southern Somalia, Uganda, and parts of Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia are currently affected by this condition," Mr Chanzu said, signalling that the situation is likely to persist for longer than expected.

He cautioned that those living in the most prone areas be on the lookout and ensure that they move to safe areas to avoid unforeseeable misfortunes.

They should also be keen and take action on warnings relayed by experts through the different media outlets and the meteorological department, according to him.

"The ground is now so soggy and saturated with water such that just a little more of additional amount could trigger a massive mudslide or landslide. Rivers are also breaking their banks and sweeping away people and households.

"Everyone should just be on the lookout and try to keep to places that are out of harm's way," said Mr Chanzu.

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