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Residents advised to endure chilly weather for two weeks

The chilling cold weather currently being experienced in Nyeri County is expected to persist for the next two weeks.

The county has experienced perhaps one of its coldest seasons in years, with temperatures dipping to as low as 14 degrees Celsius in some places.

The ongoing light rains falling in many parts of the county have not made things worse, with residents resorting to adorning themselves in warm attire to avoid falling victims to respiratory ailments such as pneumonia and bronchitis.

But Nyeri County Director of Meteorological Services John Muiruri says the cold season (traditionally experienced during the months of June and July) is due to winter conditions being experienced in the Southern hemisphere.

Muiruri has also warned farmers against rushing to prepare their lands for planting and says the light showers being experienced in parts of the county will be short-lived.

He has, however, said farmers can still plant fast maturing crops that do not require prolonged rains as the country awaits the onset of the short rains later in October.

“Around this time, we expect a cold season in July, which has spilled over into August. This cold season is sometimes associated with drizzles that can be very heavy, producing significant rain. These rains are not going to extend for long, but short-maturing plants can be considered. From here, we are approaching a dry season towards the middle of August and September, but from there, we will get the short rain season,” he told KNA.

According to the latest Meteorological weather report for the month of August, the highlands East of the Rift Valley, which include Nairobi, Kirinyaga, Murang’a, Kiambu, Meru, Embu, Tharaka, Nyandarua and Nyeri, are expected to experience occasional cool and cloudy conditions with occasional light rains.

Parts of Laikipia and Nyandarua counties are also expected to have occasional hailstorms during the same period.

Muiruri has also hinted at the possibility of Nyeri experiencing enhanced rains during the short rainy season owing to the influence of the El Nino weather phenomenon.

He has nevertheless said the Department will issue a comprehensive report in regard to the October-November-December rains once we complete monitoring the changes in global climatic patterns.

“We are yet to receive the forecast for October, November and December and we are still monitoring the situation because we are seeing signals of an El Nino experience.” So for now, I cannot say whether we are going to receive depressed rainfall, but we are still monitoring the situation,” he has explained.

On July 4 this year, The United Nations Meteorological Organisation warned the world to prepare for the adverse effects of El Nino, saying the weather phenomenon that triggers higher global temperatures would persist throughout this year.

El Nino is a naturally occurring climate pattern typically associated with increased heat worldwide, as well as drought in some parts of the world and heavy rains in other parts.

El Nino is the large-scale warming of surface temperatures in the central and eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean.

It usually occurs on average every two to seven years and lingers for a period of nine to 12 months.

“The onset of El Nino will greatly increase the likelihood of breaking temperature records and triggering more extreme heat in many parts of the world and in the ocean,” warned World Meteorological Organisation secretary-general Petteri Taalas.

“The declaration of an El Nino by WMO is a signal to governments around the world to mobilise preparations to limit the impacts on our health, our ecosystems and our economies,” said Taalas.

“Early warnings and anticipatory action for extreme weather events associated with this major climate phenomenon are vital to saving lives and livelihoods.”

El Nino events are typically associated with increased rainfall in parts of southern South America, the southern United States, the Horn of Africa and central Asia.

Kenya last experienced the El Nino phenomenon in 1997, resulting in exceptionally heavy rainfall and deadly floods.

The consequent El Nino in 2015 had a higher index but led to lower rainfall, causing less significant effects than had been anticipated.

By Samuel Maina

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