Ongoing rains set to continue to end of January 2024

The outlook for December, January to February indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience above-average rainfall.

In the December forecast released by the Kenya Meteorological Department, December is likely to be wet over most parts of the country while in January, the rainfall is expected during the first half of the month.

“February is likely to be dry over most areas but a few days may experience rain,” says the statement signed by the Deputy Director in charge of Forecasting at the Kenya Meteorological Department Bernard Chanzu and adds, “The above average rainfall will be driven by the current El Nino conditions which are expected to continue into early 2024 and a positive Indian Ocean Dipole which is expected to remain positive till January 2024.”

The forecast indicates that some areas over the eastern sector are also expected to receive rainfall towards the end of January.

According to the forecast, the last four weeks, the equatorial Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) have been above average across eastern parts of the Pacific Ocean, “this was an indication that positive El Nino Southern Oscillation (ENSO) conditions are still present in the Pacific Ocean,” says Chanzu and adds, “This configuration is associated with above normal rainfall over the country.”

He notes that during this period, warmer than average SSTs have also been observed along the equatorial Eastern Indian Ocean and near average SSTs over equatorial Western Indian Ocean indicating the existence of a positive IOD.

The forecast indicates that most of the country is likely to experience above-average rainfall during the month of December 2023 while February is likely to be dry over most areas but a few days may experience rain.

The Weatherman is warning that there is a significant risk of isolated storms developing, “and this weather pattern may lead to various forms of flooding,” he says and adds that, “Areas prone to flooding including flood plains and locations with inadequate drainage systems, especially in urban settings could be a flashpoint for danger, including riverbanks as they are susceptible to overflow, and flash floods can occur.”

Chanzu is urging residents in 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 to be cautious as the soils are saturated and any amount of downpour could result into flooding.

“There is need to to safeguard lives and property, hence the need to exercises caution during these weather conditions,” he says and adds, “It is strongly advised to refrain from venturing on foot or by vehicle through flooded areas.”

The Weatherman is further warning against attempts to cross swollen rivers so as to prevent any loss of life.

He is urging for caution for residents in areas that are prone to lightning strikes like 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 cautioned against seeking shelter under trees or near metallic structures, particularly during rainy conditions.”

Chanzu is also warning of possibilities of landslides and mudslides in parts of the Highlands East and West of the Rift Valley, Central and South Rift Valley as well as parts of Southeastern lowlands.

The Kenya Meteorological Department says significant amounts of rainfall are expected during the month of December and is likely to be higher than the long-term average amounts received during the same month in other years in the Lake Victoria Basin, Highlands West of the Rift Valley and Central and South Rift Valley including Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nandi, Laikipia, Nakuru, Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia. As well as Highlands East of the Rift Valley and Central Kenya regions of Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu, and Tharaka.

Other areas expecting enhanced rainfall in December include; the South-eastern Lowlands of Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta as well as the Coastal Strip of Mombasa, Tana River, Kilifi, Lamu and Kwale.

The forecast further indicates that Occasional rainfall is expected during the second half of the month of December 2023. The expected rainfall amounts are likely to be near the long- term average amounts received in December in the North-western Region of Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu.

Rainfall is expected during the second half of the month of December 2023 in the North-eastern Region of Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo, areas that have been in the throes of devastating floods that occurred during the beginning of the short rains season in October The expected amount of rainfall in December is likely to be near to above the long-term average amounts received in December.

Temperatures are expected to be warmer than usual over several parts of the country except over some parts of Northeastern, Southeastern lowlands in Kitui and Coastal region in Tana River County.

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