March-April-May season forecast shows that most counties could get higher than normal rainfall. North-eastern and Coastal counties will record near normal rainfall. But drought effects will continue for months even though the season is expected to be wetter. March-April-May period is the major rainfall season over most of Kenya.
Kenya Meteorological Department said rainfall in most counties would start in the second and third week of March. Its forecast shows rainfall in most counties will start decreasing in April. But in Coast rainfall will start reducing in May. The department released its forecast in the March-April-May 2022 Season report.
Thirty-two counties could receive amount of rainfall more than the normal rainfall. The counties are Siaya, Kisumu, Homa Bay, Migori, Kisii, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Baringo, Uasin Gishu, Elgeyo-Marakwet, Nandi, West Pokot, Laikipia and Nakuru. Narok, Kericho, Bomet, Kakamega, Vihiga, Bungoma and Busia. Turkana, Samburu, Nyandarua, Nyeri, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Embu, Meru, Tharaka Nithi and Nairobi. Western parts of Marsabit are likely to get near or above normal rainfall.
Rain near normal would likely fall in Wajir, Garissa, Mandera, eastern Marsabit and parts of Isiolo county.
Rainfall slightly above normal is expected in Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos, Taita Taveta and parts of Tana River.
Mombasa, Kilifi, Lamu, Kwale and parts of Tana River are expected to receive near or above normal rainfall.
Heavy rains could fall over East Africa
Kenya Meteorological Department’s forecast was released the same day Igad Climate Prediction and Applications Centre issued its forecast for 11 eastern African countries. Intergovernmental Authority on Development (Igad) own the climate centre, which gives climate services and services to national bodies.
The centre said heavy rains could fall over East Africa in the next three months after almost two years of persistent drought.
It said the March to May season is an important rainfall season in the equatorial parts of the region where it makes 70 per cent of total annual rainfall.
The centre expects heavy rains but told user to take care when reading the forecast. This is because meteorologists have a better understanding of drivers of October-November-December rainfall than March-April-May rainfall.
Dr Guleid Artan, director, Igad Climate Prediction and Applications Centre, said everyone must prepare for the worst. “It is very important to note that global climate models have low skill in predicting the MAM [March-April-May] season,” he said.
Dr Artan urged those looking for information to regularly read the centre’s weekly and monthly forecasts, which will give a much higher degree of predictability.
Rainfall will grow pasture, fill rivers, lakes
The near average rainfall expected over dry areas in north-eastern and Coast may help pasture grow again. But recovery from the current drought may take time, said Kenya Meteorological Department.
The department said the current food, water and pasture shortage for humans, livestock and wildlife could continue for some time. It advised national and county governments, and aid agencies to continue helping to save lives, livelihoods, and livestock.
Increased rainfall would increase water in rivers and lakes. This would increase domestic water supply and enhance ground water supply.
The forecast says major river catchment areas for the country’s hydroelectric power generating dams would receive near normal rainfall. This would lead rainwater flows to Sondu Miriu, Turkwell, Tana, and Athi rivers.
But the forecast report sends warning that Tana and Athi rivers could flood.