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Kenyans warned of a possible El Niño

WMO says that there's a 60 per cent of the phenomenon happening

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The World Met Organization has issued an El Niño alert with a 50-60 per cent chance of the event forming in middle to late 2017.

The naturally occurring phenomenon is known to cause heavy rains and flooding and could have a severe effect to most parts of the country that have recently been affected by drought.

The Climate Prediction Center’s Africa Hazards Outlook recently forecast average to above-average rainfall in Kenya which might trigger additional flooding already being experienced across parts of the country.

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WMO says that the El Niñooccurrence follows a recent recording of a rise in the sea surface temperatures.

Whether it causes heavy rainfall, however, depends on the location of a country and its proximity to the Equator.

Kenya’s strategic position on the equator means that El Niño will always bring rain to East Africa whose magnitude depends on the El Niño signal.

In contrast, the Kenya Met Department said that it was still too early in the year to talk about El Nino.

“We will only be able to provide a complete picture in August, when we do the forecast for the October-November-December short rains season,” said the department’s acting director.

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The last El Niño phenomenon was experienced in 2015/16 and was said to be the second strongest since the 1997 cycle.

Its effects on regional climate are never exactly the same and depend on the intensity of the event, the time of year when it develops and the interaction with other climate patterns.

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