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Long rains to last until June, says Met

By Brigid Chemweno | April 14th 2016

The long rains are expected to continue until June, the weatherman has said.

Director of Kenya Meteorological Services James Kongoti urged farmers to take advantage of the rains to maximise on crop yield.

"In the agricultural counties of Western, Nyanza, Rift Valley, Central and Coastal region, where average rainfall is expected, farmers should take advantage of it to maximise crop yield. The expected late onset and poor temporal distribution of the seasonal rainfall is, however, likely to delay planting in most agricultural areas," said Mr Kongoti.

A detailed forecast report from the Meteorological department for the March-to-May long rains season indicates that Western, Nyanza, counties in the Central and South Rift, Central Kenya, Nairobi and some counties in the Eastern region are likely to receive near-normal rainfall.

Enhanced rainfall will be experienced in Mombasa, Kwale, Kilifi and Lamu counties while depressed rainfall is expected in counties in the Eastern region (Makueni, Isiolo, Machakos and Kitui).

Some counties in the coastal region like Tana River and Taita/Taveta and the northeastern counties of Mandera, Garissa and Wajir will also receive depressed rainfall.

Pokot and Turkana counties are likely to receive below-normal rainfall.

In counties where rainfall is generally depressed, Kongoti said farmers should liaise with the Agriculture ministry to get advice on the best use of rains by planting drought-resistant crops.

He said: "The poor rainfall performance expected over the Arid and Semi-Arid Lands is likely to impact negatively on the livestock sector."

However, he noted that diseases like cholera and the problem of malnutrition may emerge in areas expected to receive depressed rainfall.

"Health authorities are, therefore, expected to be on the lookout and equip hospitals with the necessary drugs to be able to deal with such situations as they arise," he added.

During the rains, Kongoti said lightning strikes may occur in Western Kenya, especially in Kisii and Kakamega counties.

"Isolated cases of flooding in places like Budalang'i and Kano areas as well as landslides/mudslides in susceptible areas of Western, Central and Rift Valley are also likely to occur. The National Disaster Operations Centre is advised to be on standby in order to ensure mitigation of any negative impacts that may arise from the forecast conditions," he explained.

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