Kenyans are likely to wait for long before the onset of the long rains. The Acting Deputy Director of Kenya Meteorological Department Stella Aura says Kenyans should not expect the March-April-May long rains.
This will worsen food shortages and water scarcity and especially in the counties that are facing starvation.
The Meteorological Department said the current dry spell is being experienced as a result of cyclone Idai.
“Based on the current conditions and the projected weather conditions, dry conditions are expected to dominate most parts of the country, leading to further deterioration of food security and water resource,” she said.
The areas affected by the drought conditions will require interventions to support livelihoods. Conditions are expected to improve if the expected October to December short rains season perform well.
“This is because of the persistent high pressures over the Arabian region and the tropical cyclones in the western Indian Ocean,” the meteorologist said.
The meteorological department also confirmed there was only Western highlands such as Kisii, Nyamira, Bungoma, Trans-Nzoia, Kakamega, Busia, Homa Bay, and Kericho that received little amounts of rainfall.
“The bigger picture about prolonged dry spell which means a drought is foreseeable is growing increasingly clear,” she noted.
Cyclone Idai, which ravaged Mozambique last month affected the rains causing delays in the northward movement of the rain-bearing inter-tropical convergence zone (ITCZ).
The ITCZ is a low pressure belt which moves its position north and south of the equator in accordance to the position of the sun where rain-bearing cool winds converges.
The department has also predicted the possibilities of more tropical convergences developing in the South-West Indian Ocean Basin.
“We’re experiencing a bad season. Historically, it is normal to experience variability of weather. Some years you get good weather, others you don’t. This is usually a possibility but the frequency with which these inconsistencies are happening is a hallmark of climate change.”
She asked Kenyans to prepare themselves for scarcity of water resources for drinking, sanitation and industrial use as well as for power generation.
The meteorological department had forecasted the long rains would begin in April, and not in March as it has been.
However, the department now says sustained dryness is foreshadowing a future of parched rain less season where there will be no rains at all.
“It is something that is happening throughout the world and which is associated with the global atmosphere where precipitation patterns are being moved in new directions by climatic changes,” the department said.
The long rains season in Kenya is crucial and especially in western, Rift Valley and central parts which are the main country’s breadbasket.
Many farmers in Kenya majorly relies on rain-fed agriculture and the weatherman advises the cultivation of crops that requires very little rainwater.
“We’re not expecting good consistent rain and we’re warning farmers that they should improvise and seek alternative means of survival. The Agriculture ministry should advice Kenyans on what types of crops to plant with the information that we have provided,” the statement read.