Igad weather centre casts doubt on rains but urges caution


By: Eastern African

East Africa’s doubts on long rains this season may yet turn out to be true especially as the region continues to record mixed results with some regions reporting inadequate rains.

Zanzibar, for example, has experienced heavy downpours and fierce thunderstorms as predicted by the Tanzania Meteorological Agency (TMA) which had issued a “warning,” the second highest   alert that Pemba and Unguja will be subjected to heavy rains and thunderstorms.

“Periods of heavy rains are anticipated. Therefore, communities living on flood prone areas or in their proximity, should continue to take appropriate measures to reduce the associated impact of expected heavy rains including floods,” TMA said.

However, the Intergovernmental Authority on Development meteorology services which cover 11 countries in the region, issued a drought warning saying long rains have failed countries like Kenya, Ethiopia and Somalia for the sixth consecutive years.

‘Drier than usual conditions’

The Igad Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) had predicted “drier than usual conditions” over southern Ethiopia, Uganda, western parts of Rwanda, Burundi, north-western Tanzania, and parts of southern Somalia.

However, it issued a “wetter-than-usual-rainfall conditions” in northern South Sudan, Ethiopia, and localised areas in Tanzania, Kenya, and Somalia.

No confidence over models

Still, it warned that its “rainfall models have no confidence over much of Kenya, Somalia, south-eastern Ethiopia, and South Sudan.”

However, Kenya has had a fair share of rains this April despite the country’s overall low performance as per the ICPAC’s outcomes.

The Kenya Meteorological Department had warned of possible localised flooding, travel delays and disruption of economic activities in some areas in its April forecast.

“The rainfall being experienced over several parts of the country is expected to continue up to April 21,” it warned, advising residents in the Central Highlands including Nairobi County, the South and Central Rift Valley, and the Southeastern lowlands to be on the lookout for potential floods.

“Flood waters may appear in places where it has not rained heavily especially downstream,” read the statement.

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