By PETER ORENGO
The Meteorological Department has predicted depressed and poorly distributed rainfall over most parts of the country during the March-May season.
They have advised the countryâs agricultural bread-basket counties in Western, Nyanza and Rift Valley provinces, where rainfall maybe near-normal, to take advantage of the rains and maximise crop yield through appropriate land-use management.
According to latest predictions by the weatherman, only the western part of the country and the northern Coastal strip are likely to experience slightly enhanced rainfall while several places in Northeastern Kenya are likely to have depressed rainfall.
Although the months of March to May constitute an important rainfall season over Kenya and much of East Africa, most of the rainfall is expected during April.
"Farmers are, therefore, advised to work closely with the Ministry of Agriculture on ways of taking advantage of the expected good rainfall," said the Director of Meteorological Services, Joseph Mukabana, at a press conference in Nairobi, on Tuesday.
Dr Mukabana said in other agricultural regions in the central, Southeastern and coastal Kenya, where the rainfall was expected to be âNear-Normalâ with a tendency towards âBelow-Normalâ, farmers were also advised to liaise with the Agriculture ministry to get advice on planting appropriate crops.
Mukabana explained the reasons for depressed rainfall were due to weak La-NiÃ±a conditions â cooler than average sea surface temperatures (SSTs) â present over the eastern and central equatorial Pacific Ocean. Slightly cooler than average SSTs were also observed over western Equatorial Indian Ocean last month and in January.
"Warm SSTs over the South-West Indian Ocean basin are conducive for the formation of tropical cyclones (TCs) during the March to May period. The TC presence may, therefore, affect the forecasted rainfall conditions over different parts of the country," said Mukabana.
The Met department also warned the country to expect disasters usually linked to La-NiÃ±a conditions.
"Lightning strikes may occur in western Kenya especially within Gusii and Kakamega counties owing to strong convective activities between Lake Victoria, Mau Escarpment and Mt Elgon," said the director.