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El Nino a 99% certainty over October-December rain season warns Kenya Met

According to the Kenya Meteorological Department, it is expected that most parts of the country will experience enhanced (above average) rainfall and El Nino conditions for the typically short rains October-November-December (OND) season.

“It is a 99 per cent certainty that most of Kenya’s counties will experience higher-than-average rainfall, informed Dr. David Gikungu, Kenya Met Director.

The forecasted enhanced rainfall during the short rain season is expected to have both negative and positive impacts on agriculture and across various sectors in the country.

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Floods are expected to hit lowland areas that are historically flood flood-prone such as Western Kenya, Rift Valley, Coast, and North Eastern Kenya including towns like Nairobi, Nakuru, Mombasa, and Naivasha. 

Landslides and mudslides are predicted in Central Kenya and areas West of the Rift Valley highlands. Regions with many seasonal rivers such as North Eastern Kenya are slated to receive flash floods.

Weather experts asked the government to utilise adequate lead time to prepare to combat the anticipated floods. “Due to the increased water runoff expected, we urge the government to take appropriate steps to safeguard our dams and other water reservoirs to avoid human and livestock death and injury,” said a Kenya Met spokesperson.

The forecast indicates that several parts of the country are likely to have an early onset and a late cessation of rain. 

This might be especially pronounced in Eastern Kenya. Several parts of the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, the Central, and parts of South Rift Valley will start receiving occasional rainfall in September.

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El Nino conditions are driven by warmer-than-average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) over the Central and Eastern Equatorial Pacific Ocean.

Kenya’s last incident of El Nino rains was over the 2015 short rains season. Although the El Nino effects weren’t as severe as predicted, heavy rainfall was received in Western, parts of the Rift Valley, central highlands, southeastern lowlands, and the coastal region. According to the World Food Programme up to two million people were affected countrywide. Floodwaters caused some households displacement, loss of lives and livelihoods, and temporarily made some roads impassable.

For a detailed look at the report by the Kenya Meteorological Department: OND 2023 Seasonal Forecast

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