Weather Confusion: Rains aren’t Failing

Weather Confusion: Rains aren’t Failing


Today Nairobi’s main newspaper reported that widespread famine will continue, because the short rains failed. This just isn’t true.

It is true that there remains widespread famine, and I reported earlier as to why that was the case: the entire system is so much more fragile than the last drought, the effects of this one have been devastating and will likely be lasting.

And as has always been the case in equatorial East Africa, rains are not uniform. The Kenyan meteorological department, which relies heavily on the U.S.’ own NOAA agency, confirms that in many of the more populated areas the rains have been greater than normal.

This is true of nearly all the wildlife reserves, and true throughout Tanzania.

There are places in Kenya where so far the rains have been slight, and if they do end, now, it will produce a deficit from normal. These are the far north and eastern regions. It does not include the Rift Valley province, as implied by today’s Daily Nation in referring to rain in the “rift province” being light.

El Nino didn’t come, and boy could we have used it. But I wonder if any amount of additional rain will satisfy the needs which are just nearly beyond contemplation, particularly in Kenya’s north.

We’ll monitor this closely. Normally by mid-December the rains end throughout an area north and east of Nairobi, and do not return until March.