Most parts of Kenya receive rainfall twice in a year. The first season’s rainfall starts in March, peaks in April and ends in May (long rains). The second rain season begins in October, peaks in November and ends in December (short rains).
Kenya Meteorological Department says most areas in Kenya could receive depressed rainfall in the coming October-November-December season. ‘Depressed’ or ‘below average’ rainfall means rainfall which is less than 75% of usual season rainfall.
October-November-December season constitutes an important rainfall season in Kenya especially in central and south-eastern regions of the country.
“Most parts of the country are likely to experience depressed rainfall,” says the department in its October-November-December 2021 season report.
The department’s analysis of this year’s March-April-May and June-July-August season show most parts of eastern and northern Kenya received poor rainfall. The forecasted depressed rainfall during October to December season points to a likely drought.
“Drought conditions may worsen as the period progresses over most of the arid and semi-arid regions of northern and eastern Kenya,” the department said.
The forecast shows that rain could start late and stop early in most parts of country. This would be more noticeable over eastern part of the country.
Rainfall would be poor over most areas especially in October and the peak in November. The department expects reduced rainfall over several places in the country in December as the season comes to an end.
As the season comes to an end in December several places would be sunny and dry.
Eastern and north eastern
Temperature forecast shows that warmer that average temperatures are likely over most parts of the country during the season. In addition, it is highly likely to be warmer than average temperatures in eastern Kenya.
North eastern counties – Mandera, Wajir, some parts of Garissa, Marsabit and Isiolo – would very likely receive highly depressed rainfall.
These areas are expected to experience mainly sunny and dry weather conditions and only a few days of rainfall. Expected rainfall amount is likely to be below the usual average for the season.
The forecasts show that the prevailing drought over the northern and eastern parts of country is likely to deteriorate. This is likely to extend to other parts of the country.
October-November-December rainfall in other counties
Baringo, Bungoma, Busia, Siaya, Elgeyo Marakwet, Homa Bay, Kakamega, Kericho, Kisii, Kisumu, Laikipia, parts of Migori, Nakuru, Nandi, Narok, Nyamira, Trans Nzoia, Uasin Gishu and Vihiga
Kenya Meteorological Department expects occasional showers and thunderstorms to continue in these counties throughout the season. The expected rainfall is likely to be below the normal rainfall for the season.
The forecast expects the season to peak in November. The expected rainfall is likely to be poorly distributed
Samburu, Turkana and West Pokot
The counties are mainly likely to be sunny and dry for most of the season. Showers and thunderstorms are likely to occur on a few days during the season. The expected rainfall amount is likely to be below the normal rainfall for the season. Long dry spells are also likely during the season.
Embu, Kiambu, Kirinyaga, Meru, Murang’a, Nairobi, Nyandarua, Nyeri and Tharaka Nithi
They are likely to receive occasional rainfall during the season. The expected rainfall is likely to be below the normal rainfall for the season. This rainfall is likely to be poorly distributed.
Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta
It will occasionally rain in these counties during the season. The expected rainfall could be lower than normal rainfall for the season. In addition, the rainfall is likely to be poorly distributed.
Kilifi, Kwale, Lamu, Mombasa and Tana River
These counties are expected to receive occasional rainfall during the season. The expected rainfall is likely to be below the long-term average amounts for the season. The expected rainfall is likely to be poorly distributed.
What’s impact of October-November-December rainfall?
The department’s analysis of March-April-May and June-July-August show that most parts of the country got deficit rainfall. This was notable in eastern and northern Kenya. There’s possibility of drought to worsen as the season progresses over most of arid and semi-arid areas.
Agriculture, food security and livestock. Food shortage could deteriorate in most arid parts of the country. Late and poorly distributed rainfall will negatively affect agricultural production. The most affected area is eastern Kenya, which highly relies on short rains.
The department advises farming communities in western Kenya to use the expected rainfall to maximise crop harvest. In addition, it guides farmers work with Agricultural ministry to know suitable seeds to plant.
Poor rainfall expected in some arid areas would likely negatively affect animal pasture in north eastern, north western and south eastern.
Water and energy. Depressed rain will cause water shortage for general and domestic to worsen in arid areas of eastern and northern parts of the country. The forecast expects water levels in dams, water pans and lakes to reduce.
Reduced inflows into the water reservoirs and hydropower dams could cut hydropower generated. The department calls on the government to carefully manage reservoirs and continuously monitor water levels to stabilise power production.
Impact on health and environment
Health. North western, north eastern and parts of south eastern would likely see diseases caused by lack of proper nutrition and poor hygiene. This will result from lack of food and water. The department calls on arms of government to strengthen treatment and supply of water for drinking and domestic use in arid areas.
Environment and natural resources. The forecast expects depressed rainfall to increase forest fires, pollution and threat to animals and plants. The department advises the government and communities to create fire lines and firebreaks to control fire.
It expects limited resources to cause conflicts between people and animals as well as conflicts among communities.
“Relevant government authorities should therefore put in place the necessary contingency plans and early actions to avoid loss of lives,” the department said. “In western Kenya, lightning strikes are highly probable, especially in Kisii, Kisumu, Nandi, Kakamega and Bungoma (Mt.Elgon areas) counties.”