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Was El Niño rains warning a hoax? Experts speak out

Weather experts have cautioned Kenyans over doubts on whether the El Niño rains have started and told them to prepare for heavy downpours.

Some parts of the country have been experiencing rains for the last two weeks, but on Monday, the storms spread to other areas, including Nairobi.

Some people had started doubting whether this was as a result of the El Niño condition as this is the time the country normally receives the short rains, which start in October and end in December.

The experts had predicted that most parts of the country would receive the rains by last week.

A report by the Kenya Meteorological Service on Tuesday last week indicated that parts of the Mount Kenya region, Nairobi and the south eastern lowland areas of Mtito Andei and Kibwezi would start receiving rains from Thursday the same week.


Not all these areas had received the rains until Monday, when light showers fell in the city and its environs.

As a result, some residents were becoming sceptical, wondering whether the much-hyped El Niño was real or just a hoax.

“El Niño is actually here and the people should start taking measures to protect themselves against its effects,” the deputy director of the Meteorological Department, Mr Samuel Mwangi said on Tuesday.

He said the rains had come early this season.

“The short rains usually start towards the end of October but this time, they have come early and they are slightly heavier than in other years. This is a sign of El Niño,” Mr Mwangi said.

The rains would soon become heavier, he said, adding that there had been storms in parts of the coastal region and Garissa County and people had been displaced by floods.

“Such rains are rarely experienced in places like Garissa,” he said, adding that substantial rains were expected before October 20, and would continue until December or even January.


Rains have been pounding Trans Nzoia and Uasin Gishu counties and farmers are complaining that they are affecting maize harvests.

“We rarely have such heavy rains in early October,” Mr Mwangi said.

Even though Nairobi and its environs have not yet received much of the predicted deluge, the deputy director said there signs of the coming of the rains.

Areas where rains have been reported include Tana River, Kilifi, Kisumu, Kakamega, Homa Bay, Busia, Bungoma, Marsabit, Isiolo, Mombasa, Meru, Nyeri, Kericho and Kisii.

The government has set up a multi-agency team being coordinated by the National Disaster Operations Centre to deal with disaster response during the expected heavy rains.

It consists of officials from the ICT ministry, the Kenya Red Cross Society, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs and several other government departments.