The Kenya Meteorological Department has unveiled a weather projection indicating that a significant portion of the nation can expect above-average rainfall over the next three months.
This revelation has both promising opportunities and potential concerns for the country.
Most parts of Kenya, except for the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Lake Victoria Basin, Central, and Southern Rift Valley, where rains are expected to continue from September, will experience rains between the second and third week of October.
Forecasts indicate that the Lake Victoria Basin, Central Kenya, sections of the South Rift Valley, the Highlands West of the Rift Valley, the Coast, North-eastern Kenya, and most of the South-eastern lowlands are likely to witness rainfall exceeding the typical October averages.
This bodes well for agriculture and pastureland, presenting an opportunity for farmers to enhance crop cultivation and livestock production to meet growing demands.
In tandem with these prospects, the meteorological authorities have issued a cautionary message.
There is a concern that flash floods may occur in low-lying regions of the northern parts of Kenya, the Southeastern lowlands, the Coastal area, segments of the Central and South Rift Valley, and in urban locales with insufficient drainage systems.
This raises legitimate concerns for residents and public infrastructure.
To mitigate risks during thunderstorms, residents are being advised to avoid seeking shelter beneath trees or near metallic structures in areas known for frequent lightning strikes.
These precautionary measures are particularly relevant in the Lake Victoria Basin and the Western regions of Kenya, including Kisii, Kisumu, Nandi, Kakamega, and Bungoma.
This latest forecast follows recent alerts from the Kenya MET Service, pinpointing specific areas in Western Kenya at risk of flooding.
Among these areas are Nyakach, Nyando, lower sections of the River Nzoia, Winam Gulf, and lower segments of the River Sondu.
The MET Service has urged Kenyans to exercise vigilance as El Niño makes a return this year—a cyclical weather phenomenon recurring every 3 to 5 years, characterized by excessive rainfall and flooding in East Africa.
Kenya remains vigilant and questions abound if the nation is really ready to navigate the opportunities and challenges that the forthcoming rains may bring.
It is a stark reminder of the need for preparedness and precaution, with the memories of the devastating floods of 1997 and 2006 still etched in the nation's collective memory.