African SWIFT reports on recent floods in Kenya

SWIFT Researcher Emmah Mwangi from Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) reports:

In March 2018 there have been two episodes of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya, which caused massive flooding in urban and low lying areas. Both episodes were caused by the presence of Tropical cyclones in the Indian Ocean; Dumazile and Eliakim. The effect of Cyclones in the Equatorial East African region is that they help pull in moisture from the Congo basin, and the gradient created by the  low pressure systems also pulls the North-South arm of the Inter tropical convergence zone Eastwards. In the recent past as storms have become more severe and frequent during the rainy seasons of March – May and October-December, flooding, and especially flash flooding in urban areas, has become more common.

It is likely that these events are linked to global warming on both global and local scales. Globally reports have indicated that the oceans are warming, and with the Indian Ocean being warm at the beginning of March this encouraged the formation of cyclones. Locally as temperatures rise the effect of urban heating has also magnified, and with this urban areas like Nairobi are getting more severe storms. Analyses of the future likelihood of extreme events occuring over the East Africa region have shown that such events are probably going to become more frequent and more severe.  Unless climate is factored into urban planning it is highly likely that we will see more flash floods occurring in urban areas.

The forecasts for both of the recent flooding events were very accurate both on short and medium range scales. Advisories for the heavy rains were prepared and sent out days before the events started providing advance warning of the expected heavy rains to disaster managers and the general public. As social media becomes more popular across Kenya Facebook and Twitter, as well as mobile apps such as Whatsapp and Telegram are used increasingly to reach a greater proportion of the general public.

The satellite images below show rainfall for 4th March 2018.

4 Mar 08.30
4 Mar 12.45
4 Mar 15.45

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The satellite images below show rainfall for 15th March 2018.

15 Mar 07.45
15 Mar 12.45
15 Mar 15.45

GCRF African SWIFT Project Kick-Off Meeting

The NCAS – led Global Challenges Research Fund African Science for Weather Information and Forecasting Techniques (GCRF African SWIFT) project held their kick-off meeting in Dakar, Senegal from 13 – 17 November, 2017.

The project meeting in Dakar was an opportunity for the team to lay out the groundwork for the four-year project, which aims to improve tropical forecasting ability, build capacity within African forecasting agencies, and improve communication links to forecast users. The fulfilment of these aims will greatly benefit African populations and demonstrate forecasting capability in the wider developing world.

Find out more about the meeting here:

https://gcrfafricanswift.exposure.co/gcrf-african-swift-project-kickoff

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