Monday morning and residents of the country’s capital Nairobi woke up to a clouded day, forced to dress warm as they struggled with below average temperatures.
It was even more bizarre for residents of Melili and Olokurto in Narok north constituency after they woke up to blankets of snow.
The Kenya meteorological department forecasting maximum temperatures of about 19 degrees centigrade with lows of 13 degrees on Monday for Nairobi with several other regions also experiencing similar weather patterns.
But could this be a pointer to changing weather patterns? According to Dr. Richard Muita, an assistant Director, climate services and head of public weather at the Kenya metrological department, the obtaining situation is not unusual.
Muita terming the latest spectacle recorded in Narok county as cold air particles dropping in the form of ice resulting from failure by warm air on the upper surface to generate sufficient latent heat to melt the cold air particles. “When the cold air tries to rise, it meets the warm air up there, and because the process is not complete and there is no sufficient heat to melt, the cold air particles comes down as ice.” Muita explains.
According to Muita, the low temperatures at the beginning of September are remnants of the cold season of June to August, with the earth’s surface generally remaining cold over the last three months.
The above average hot temperatures towards the end of August and at the beginning of September according to Muita have caused the cold air on the surface to start rising. “So, what happens is that the warmer air is lighter than the denser cold air which has been persisting on the surface during the cold season. The warm air overlays itself on top of the cold air because its light.” Muita explains.
Muita says that something unique usually happens in the month of September when some warm air from the west mostly from the Atlantic Ocean start coming in through the western part of the country resulting in rains. “When the cold air rises, it has substantial amounts of moisture in it. So, when it rises and combines with the warm air in the west, then it results in rains including storms and hailstorms.” Muita explains.
Muita however says the abnormally low temperatures will fade by the second or third week of September with most of the country set to experience hot and dry weather conditions especially before the onset of seasonal rains forecast for the second to third week of October. “In a sense, that cold is continuously being eroded or depleted” Muita says.
In its latest forecast, the meteorological department says some parts of the country will continue receiving rainfall during transition from the cold to warm season.
The department however paints a picture of depressed rainfall over several areas over the short rains period with rains forecast to peak in November.
Source: Kenya Broadcasting Corporation