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Rains to continue through December

Tuesday December 3 2019

BRIAN OKINDA
By BRIAN OKINDA
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The rains pounding many parts of the country will persist until the end of the month with intermittent episodes of heavy and light rainfall up to the fourth week of December, the meteorological department said Tuesday.

The department urged Kenyans to be on the lookout for landslides and overflowing river banks.

Mr Bernard Chanzu, who is the acting deputy director at the Kenya Meteorological Department, said most areas in Western Kenya, the Lake Basin region, and Rift Valley are expected to receive heavy rainfall, whose intensity will likely subside towards the weekend.

“But the rest of the month is expected to be dominated by intermittent episodes of heavy and light rainfall up to the fourth week of December or the first week of January in different areas,” said Mr Chanzu.

He explained that this unusual phenomenon, called the Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD), also known as the Indian Niño, has been triggered by the irregular fluctuation of sea-surface temperatures such that the western Indian Ocean bordering the East African shores becomes alternately warmer and then colder than the eastern part of the ocean, leading to the extremely rainy conditions.

This year’s Indian Ocean Dipole has been touted as among the strongest on record, a situation which, despite being favourable to the Indian sub-continent, has opposite effects for a number of other countries.

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“Tanzania, Kenya, Southern Somalia, Uganda, and parts of Rwanda, Burundi and Ethiopia are currently affected by this condition,” Mr Chanzu said, signalling that the situation is likely to persist for longer than expected.

He cautioned that those living in flood prone areas be on the lookout and ensure they move to safer areas to avoid misfortunes.

He asked people to be keen and heed warnings relayed by experts through different media outlets and the meteorological department.

“The ground is now so soggy and saturated with water that just a little additional amount could trigger a massive mudslide or landslide. Rivers are also bursting their banks and sweeping away people and property.

"Everyone should be on the lookout and keep out of harm’s way,” said Mr Chanzu.