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REPUBLIC OF KENYA

MINISTRY OF ENVIRONMENT AND MINERAL RESOURCES


KENYA METEOROLOGICAL DEPARTMENT
Dagoretti Corner, Ngong Road, P. O. Box 30259, Nairobi, Kenya,
Telephone: 254-20-3867880-5, Fax: 254-20-3876955/387373,
E-mail:director@meteo.go.ke

Ref. No. KMD/FCST/4-2011/MO/04 Issue Date: 30th March 2011

WEATHER REVIEW DURING MARCH AND THE OUTLOOK FOR APRIL 2011

1. SUMMARY

Depressed rainfall was recorded over most parts of the country in March 2011. Indeed, most parts of
North-eastern Kenya and the Coastal strip remained generally sunny and dry throughout the month.
However, several parts of Western, Northwestern, Nairobi area and parts of Southeastern lowlands
recorded enhanced rainfall (normal to above normal) that was poorly distributed both in time and
space.

The poor rainfall performance over various parts of the country was associated with the prevailing
moderate La Niña conditions in the Equatorial eastern Pacific ocean coupled with the cooler than
average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) adjacent to the East African coast.

April is the peak month of the “Long Rains” season. The rain-bearing belt called the Inter-Tropical
Convergence Zone (ITCZ) traverses the country from South to North during the month.
The outlook for April 2011 indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience near-average
rainfall that will be poorly distributed both in time and space. Slightly enhanced rainfall is, however,
expected over the western areas while depressed rainfall is expected over most of Northwestern and
Northeastern areas of the country.

2. REVIEW OF THE WEATHER PATTERNS DURING MARCH 2011

Generally depressed rainfall (normal with a tendency to below normal) was experienced over most parts
of the country in March. The driest conditions occurred over the Northeastern Kenya and the Coastal
strip where most stations recorded no rainfall at all throughout the month. However, several areas in
Western and Northwestern Kenya as well as Nairobi area and parts of Southeastern lowlands recorded
enhanced rainfall (normal tending to above normal). However, the distribution, both in time and space,
was generally poor.

Up to 29th March, Kericho station in western Kenya recorded the highest rainfall amount of 204.5mm
(118%), as compared to its Long-Term Mean (LTM) rainfall of 173.8mm. Kakamega, Machakos, Kitale,
Wilson Airport, Thika, Kisii, Dagoretti Corner, Narok and Nakuru stations recorded 186.9 (109%),
193.1 (237%), 153.4 (165%), 138.5 (163%), 137.8 (125%), 134.4 (67%), 121.4 (131%), 105.5 (106%)
and 104.6 mm (159%) as compared to their respective LTMs of 172.0, 81.5, 93.1, 84.8, 110.7, 199.6,
92.8, 99.8 and 65.8 mm. The rest of stations recorded less than 100mm. Indeed, Moyale, Marsabit,
Garissa, Wajir, Mandera, Lamu, Msabaha and Mtwapa stations recording no rainfall at all throughout
the month of March (see figures 1a and 1b).

3. MARCH-APRIL-MAY (MAM) 2011 SEASONAL RAINFALL ONSET

The MAM 2011 seasonal rainfall onset was timely over western, central and parts of southeastern
lowlands. These regions started recording rainfall during the second and third week of March. There
were, however, long dry spells especially towards the end of the month.

1
A few rainfall storms were recorded during the month of March. For example, on 18th March, Machakos
Meteorological station recorded the heaviest rainfall storm amounting to 100.6mm. The same station
recorded 62.2mm of rainfall on 19th March. Thika and Wilson Airport stations recorded 61.8 and 53.9
mm both on 19th March while Voi station recorded 73.9mm on 24th March.

4. PREVAILING SYNOPTIC CONDITIONS

Cooler than average Sea Surface Temperatures (SSTs) continued to occur over the Eastern and Central
Equatorial Pacific Ocean, indicating that the moderate La Niña conditions still prevailed in the Pacific.
Cooler than average SSTs also occurred in the SW Equatorial Indian Ocean adjacent to the East African
Coastline. These temperature patterns weakened the rainfall generating mechanism that led to depressed
rainfall over most parts of the country. The zonal arm of the rain-bearing system, the ITCZ, was
generally diffuse and mainly overlying northern Tanzania for most of the month of March.

5. EXPERIENCED IMPACTS DURING MARCH 2011

The rainfall deficits and the poor distribution over various parts of the country impacted negatively on
various sectors:
¾ In the agricultural sector, most farming communities in the country recorded poor crop
performance as a result of the long dry spells;
¾ In the pastoral areas, pastures for animals continued to deteriorate due to lack of rainfall in the
regions;
¾ There was no improvement in the water levels in the hydro-electric power generating dams due
to poor rainfall performance in the catchment areas. The rainfall was not enough to create surface
run-off to recharge the dams;
¾ Various parts of the country and more so the counties in northeastern Kenya continued to
experience food and water shortages due to the prevailing drought situation.

6. WEATHER FORECAST FOR APRIL 2011

The rainfall forecast for April 2011 is based on regression of Sea Surface Temperature Anomalies
(SSTAs) on Kenyan April rainfall, Sea Surface Temperature (SST) gradients and the expected evolution
of global SST patterns. Analogue years were also considered.
The forecast for April 2011 indicates that much of the country is likely to receive near-average rainfall
during the month. The western regions of the country are, however, likely to experience slightly
enhanced rainfall while northwestern and northeastern areas are likely to receive generally depressed
rainfall. The rainfall is expected to be poorly distributed both in time and space. The specific outlooks
for individual areas are as follows:
The Western Highlands (Kitale, Kericho, Nandi, Eldoret, Kakamega), Lake Basin (Kisumu, Kisii,
Busia) and Central Rift Valley (Narok, Nakuru, Naivasha), are likely to receive near normal rainfall
tending to above normal (slightly enhanced rainfall) in April. The distribution in time and space is,
however, expected to be generally poor.

The Highlands East of the Rift Valley (Nyeri, Embu, Meru, Murang’a, Kiambu), Nairobi Area
(Dagoretti, Wilson, Eastleigh), Northern Kenya (Marsabit, Moyale, North Horr), the Coast Strip
(Mombasa, Malindi, Kilifi, Lamu), Southeastern lowlands (Machakos, Makindu, Voi, Taita,
Taveta) and parts of Northeastern Kenya (Garissa area) are likely to receive near-average rainfall
amounts that will be characterized by poor spatial and temporal distribution.

The Northwestern regions (Lodwar, Lokichoggio, Lokitaung) and most of Northeastern Kenya
(Wajir, Mandera, El Wak, Garbatulla) are likely to receive generally depressed rainfall with poor
distribution both in time and space (see figure 2).
7. EXPECTED IMPACTS
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• Relatively poor crop performance is expected in various parts of the country due to the expected
poor rainfall performance and distribution. Farmers are, therefore, advised to liaise with the
agricultural officers and apply the best agricultural methods that will suit the forecasted
conditions.
• Pasture for livestock will continue to deteriorate especially in the pastoral areas of Northwestern
and Northeastern Kenya due to the expected poor rainfall performance.
• There are still chances of floods occurring in the flood-prone areas like Nyando, Budalang’i and
Kano plains. Cases of lightening strikes will also increase especially in western Kenya.
Contingency measures should, therefore, be put in place to avoid any loss of live and property.
• The Seven-Folk and Turkwel power generating dams are expected to experience near-normal
inflows due to the expected near average to slightly enhanced rainfall in the catchment areas. A
slight increase is, therefore, expected in the water levels.
• Diseases associated with water scarcity and poor sanitation such as typhoid and cholera are likely
to occur in the areas expected to receive depressed rainfall. The Ministries of Public Health and
Medical Services are advised, therefore, to be on the look out for such cases.

NB: This forecast should be used in conjunction with regular updates issued by this Department.

Dr. Joseph R. Mukabana, MBS


DIRECTOR OF METEOROLOGICAL SERVICES & PERMANENT REPRESENTATIVE OF KENYA
WITH WMO

FIGURE 1A: ISO-LINES SHOWING MARCH 2011 RAINFALL


DISTRIBUTION IN KENYA

3
RAINFALL IN MM

0.0
50.0
100.0
150.0
200.0
250.0

LODWAR
MARSABIT 240.2
MOYALE0.0
GARISSA 0.5
WAJIR 0.0
MANDERA 0.0
KITALE 0.0
KAKAMEGA 164.8
ELDORET 108.7
ELDORET AP 71.7
KERICHO 67.7
KISII 117.6
KISUMU 67.3
NYAHURURU 52.6
TOT-MAR

NAKURU 91.7
NAROK 159.0
NYERI 105.7
EMBU 58.2
STATION

MERU 40.9
LAIKIPIA 35.2
LTM-MAR

M.A.B. 74.1
DAGORETTI 84.6
WILSON 130.8
JKIA 163.3
%MAR

THIKA 106.1
MACHAKOS 124.5
MAKINDU 236.9
VOI 118.3

FIGURE 2: RAINFALL FORECAST FOR APRIL 2011


LAMU 92.5
MALINDI0.0
MSABAHA 42.2
MTWAPA 0.0
FIGURE 1B: OBSERVED MARCH 2011 RAINFALL (GREEN) AS COMPARED TO THE LONG-TERM MEAN (RED)

MOMBASA 0.0
18.1
0.0
50.0
100.0
150.0
200.0
250.0
300.0