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Met: Expect heavy rains during exams

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Friday October 25 2019
KCSE exams, rains

Officials collect KCSE exam papers at the Mombasa County headquarters on October 24, 2019. PHOTO | KEVIN ODIT | NATION MEDIA GROUP

Heavy rainfall will be experienced in most parts of the country in November and is likely to interfere with the ongoing national examinations, the Ministry of Environment has warned.

In a letter seen by the Nation dated October 17 and addressed to Education Principal Secretary Belio Kipsang, Environment PS Betty Maina gives a detailed weather forecast that predicts the occurrence of flooding and occasional flash floods in at least 20 counties.

“The outlook for October indicates that most parts of the country are likely to experience enhanced rainfall that will be above their seasonal average apart from North-western Kenya including Turkana, Samburu and parts of Marsabit which will experience normal rainfall that is slightly above the long-term monthly average,” the letter stated.

WEATHER ADVISORY

The letter further notes that November is normally the peak month of the short-rains season in Kenya, stating that the outlook for the month indicates that several parts of the country are likely to receive substantial rainfall that is above their long-term monthly average.

“Areas of Mandera, Northern Wajir and parts of Marsabit are expected to experience rainfall slightly above the long-term average,” it adds.

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The forecast comes after Education Cabinet Secretary George Magoha requested for a detailed weather advisory for the period between October 20 and November 29.

In a letter to Environment CS Keriako Tobiko, Prof Magoha says the advisory will “enable us (the ministry) to anticipate weather changes and equip our team with adequate information to effectively deliver the examination”.

The national exams for primary and secondary students are scheduled to start on October 28 and will run up to November 27.

Heavy rains and flooding in several parts of the country have resulted in several schools, homes and roads being cut off and destroyed.

Affected exam centres and schools in Bute and Buna in Wajir North have been forced to move to other locations because of flooding, which has made it impossible to access the classrooms.

HEAVY STORMS

The detailed forecast by the Environment ministry predicts that heavy storms that will result in possible flooding will be experienced in the Lake Basin region, the highlands east of the Rift Valley, Central Kenya and the Coastal strip.

“The intensity of the rains is likely to increase in November. During this period, heavy storms are likely to be more frequent, especially during afternoons and evenings. Occasional flash floods will also be experienced in the North-western region of Turkana, West Pokot and Samburu; South-eastern lowlands of Kajiado, Kitui, Makueni, Machakos and Taita Taveta as well as in the North-eastern region of Marsabit, Mandera, Wajir, Garissa and Isiolo,” the statement reads.

In the Rift Valley, the Coast and Central regions, including Nairobi, heavy rainfall will also be accompanied by strong winds.

In the latest update by the Meteorological Department, Kenyans living in the central and western regions have been warned to be on the lookout for possible landslides.

HEAVY DOWNPOUR

Meteorological Department director Stella Aura said Central and Western regions, especially over the slopes of the Aberdare Ranges, Mt Kenya and other hilly areas over the Western region are at the highest risk of landslides.

According to the advisory, Kenyans in at least 20 counties should expect heavy downpour of over 20mm that is expected to continue for the entire season, with occasional breaks.

Kenyans have further been cautioned against driving through waterlogged areas and walking in moving water. “No one should shelter under trees and near grilled windows. This is to minimise exposure to lightning strikes,” added the advisory.