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Kenya warns of looming El-Nino rains

18 August 2015, 20:00

Nairobi - Kenya's weathermen have warned of El Nino which is expected to bring heavy rains, floods and massive destruction of property from September.

The Kenya Meteorological Department (MET) said the season is likely to coincide with the onset of the short rains, which start next month, adding that the prospect of a record-breaking El Nino is worrying since the 1997 weather killed many people and left hundreds homeless.

"It is equally important to note that most all heavy rainfall events experienced in the country are related to El-Nino conditions," MET department warned Tuesday.

It said the El-Nino conditions have been evolving in the equatorial Pacific Ocean since May, noting that the conditions will continue through the 'short rains' (Oct-Nov-Dec) season and mature in December as usual.

The East African nation has been witnessing huge weather swings in the recent times. The long rains in April became unprecedented leading to massive destruction, death and an exposure of weak storm drainage systems across towns and cities.

Also read: Over 200 charged with dumping, stepping on 'Kidero grass'

The ensuing cold season has unusually extended way into mid- August and has been characterised by rains in some areas like the Coastal region.

The Nairobi County government has issued a warning to residents living in flood-prone areas to move to safer grounds to avert disaster due to onset of mild El-Nino rains.

"Predictions are that the enhanced rainfall will reach the strongest levels ever seen in the last four decades as the world heads into the El Nino season," said County Environment Executive Evans Ondieki on Tuesday.

Scientists say the condition, experienced across the world, could be the strongest since the 1950s. Weather experts from East Africa will meet in Dar es Salaam next week to discuss likely scenarios and disaster response.

The Kenya Meteorological Department deputy director Ayub Shaka said Kenyans should wait for the report from next week's meeting in Dar es Salaam.

Already some parts of the world are witnessing the effects of the phenomenon with temperatures in Asia and the U.S. reaching sweltering levels. In India, the temperatures have been so hot that some of the roads are melting.

Forecasts across the world show a high likelihood of El Nino strengthening from next month, and spilling over to early 2016.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) and the International Research Institute for Climate and Society at Columbia University warned a malaria outbreak is likely in Kenya because of the wetter and warmer weather.

"It will be important to monitor rainfall and associated flooding and minimum temperatures, given their impact on malaria outbreaks," says an alert by the WHO.

- Xinhua


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