It’s El Niño we’re dealing with, says weatherman

Floods in South C on Friday. [Wilberforce Okwiri, Standard]
Kenyans should brace themselves for a wet Christmas, the weatherman has warned.

It is also emerging from local and international weather forecasts that what Kenyans think are sporadic heavy rains in various parts of the country could be El Niño, which may stretch into the New Year.

Already, Nairobi is receiving heavy rains in the mornings and evenings, affecting transport and movement of people to and from work.

South C in Nairobi is the latest casualty, with flooding on Friday morning.

Nyando sub-county in Kisumu has also been flooded, following the downpour that has been witnessed most of this week.

“The rainfall distribution, both in time and space, is however expected to be generally poor, especially over the northern parts of the country,” said Kenya Meteorological Department acting Director Stella Aura.

According to Aura, the forecasts thus far have confirmed likelihoods of positive El Niño at the tail-end of the year.

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Another forecast by the International Research Institute for Climate and Society of Columbia University points to an 80 per cent chance of El Niño developing through 2018/19 northern hemisphere winter, with a probability of 55 to 60 per cent into spring of 2019.

Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia are among high-risk countries in the Horn of Africa, among other African countries like the Democratic Republic of Congo, Madagascar, Swaziland, Malawi, Mozambique, Lesotho and Zimbabwe.

The probability of El Niño in the coming months has also been confirmed by the World Meteorological Organization (WMO) and the Australian Bureau of Meteorology (BOM).

The climate outlook for December 2018 by MET is mainly based on the prevailing and expected Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies (SSTAs) over the Pacific, Indian and Atlantic oceans.

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El NiñoHeavy RainsFloodsKenya Meteorological Department