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Weatherman cautions farmers against rushing to plant in the wake of ongoing rains

The ongoing rains do not signal the onset of the long rains, Nyeri County Director of Meteorological Services John Muiruri has said.

The clarification comes in the wake of heavy rains that have been pounding several parts of the country (including Nyeri) for the last two weeks.

Anxious farmers have been left stranded following the heavy downpour that seems to have come earlier than expected.

While the March-May long rainy season is just days away, the current showers appear to have come much earlier than normally anticipated.

But Muiruri says the rains are short-lived and are expected to cease within four days from today and farmers should therefore desist from putting their lands under crops until after the commencement of the main rainy season.

“What we have been experiencing following the heavy rains that have been pounding Nyeri and other parts of the country will be short-lived. We expect these rains to stop within three to four days from now after which we shall continue to experience sunny and hot weather conditions. We thus wish to advise our farmers to refrain from going ahead with planting until the onset of the long rains expected from mid-March,” he told KNA.

In its weekly weather forecast report covering the period between February 27 to March 4, the Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) notified the public that rainfall is expected over several parts of the country including the South Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, the Highlands East and West of the Rift Valley, the Southeastern lowlands and North-western Kenya.

In addition, day time temperatures of more than 30 degrees centigrade will be experienced in a number of counties including Turkana, Samburu, Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Isiolo, Garissa, Tana River, Lamu, Kilifi, Mombasa, Kwale, Taita Taveta, Kajiado, Makueni, Kitui, Laikipia, Baringo, West Pokot, Bungoma, Kakamega and Busia.

In the meantime, parts of Nyeri, Laikipia and Murang’a counties are expected to continue experiencing low average nighttime temperatures of less than 10 degrees centigrade.

Day time temperatures in Nyeri county are expected to average between 22 degrees centigrade and 30 degrees centigrade.

Muiruri explained that the high temperatures being experienced during the day will continue until the onset of the long rains next month.

“We are yet to release the seasonal focus for the long rains but we expect the long rain around March. Of note is the high temperatures that have been recorded during this month which is a result of the dry weather condition since the beginning of the year. The high temperatures are however expected to subside as we approach the March –May long rain season,” he added.

In its latest report released this month, The Intergovernmental Authority on Development’s (IGAD) Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) predicts that the long rains will be above-average.

With the forecast’s probability rating between 55 and 65 per cent, IGAD says countries that will benefit from the rains include Kenya, Somalia, southern Ethiopia, southern Sudan, Uganda, Burundi, Rwanda and north-western Tanzania.

The highest probabilities are expected in Central and Western Kenya and in the border areas between Ethiopia, Kenya and Uganda.

“The predicted above-average rainfall is a significant turnaround from the recent dry spells that have caused immense hardship,” said ICPAC Director Dr Guleid Artan.

“While the food security situation may improve with wetter than usual conditions, it is important to remember the multiple challenges facing the region, including the historic drought in 2020-2022, conflicts in various parts of the region such as Sudan, and El Nino-induced floods at the end of 2023.This has weakened the coping capacity of communities, leaving them highly vulnerable to food insecurity. The likelihood of flooding during the 2024 May to March season in parts of the region could therefore lead to a deterioration of food security in localised areas,” he added.

By Samuel Maina

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