High Alert as MET Department Announces Strong Winds

Since Monday, strong winds have been witnessed in the coastal counties of Lamu, Mombasa, Kilifi, and Kwale. The winds have destroyed property and electricity poles in various areas although no casualties have been reported.

Red Cross has reported trees being uprooted and causing damage at Mbaraki Comprehensive School in Mombasa, a coconut tree left Ganjoni residents in the dark after it fell on power cables and cut off electricity supply in the Kisauni sub-county for many hours. 

A roof at the County Commissioner’s office in Kilifi caved in and a car was damaged in the ordeal. Kwale County’s Commissioner reported that 19 fishermen were rescued when their boat capsized after it developed a fault that was worsened by the winds.

High Alert as MET Department Announces Strong Winds

In its forecast for Tuesday and Wednesday, issued as a memo on its website, the Kenya Meteorological (MET) Department predicted the presence of heavy rainfall with large waves. The heavy rainfall is to be accompanied by gutsy winds, large waves in the Indian Ocean, and southerly winds in the Eastern region.

Tropical Storm

In a marine update issued Tuesday evening, the director of the MET Department, David Gikungu, said the new development is due to a tropical storm, IALY, which has intensified to a tropical cyclone stage. The tropical storm started southwest of the Indian Ocean, north of Madagascar Island, and was less than 300 km from Mombasa. A tropical cyclone is formed once mean surface winds above 35 knots (65 km/h) are observed.

High Alert as MET Department Announces Strong Winds
Mbaraki, Kisauni Sub-county where a tree fell and damaged property. Image: Nation Media

He added that the tropical cyclone is positioned northwest 5°S/45°E, noting that tropical cyclones within 5°S/5°N are very rare, thanks to the Equator. Strong southerly winds at 10-30 knots are expected over Kenya and Tanzania waters with waves of 1.5 to 3.6 meters expected along the Kenya coast resulting in moderate to rough sea conditions. Fishermen have been urged to stay vigilant and desist from fishing activities in deep sea areas for a few days.

Prepare for heavy rainfall

The weatherman has cautioned on heavy rainfall over the weekend in the Lake Victoria Basin, the Rift Valley, Highlands West and East of the Rift Valley, including Nairobi. Residents in the mentioned areas are asked to exercise extra caution and be on the lookout for flash floods, landslides, and poor visibility.

They’ve been asked to stay away from dams which may overflow as a result of excessive runoffs. Residents have been urged to move to areas of higher grounds and avoid sheltering under trees or walking in open fields to avoid lighting and being swept off by running waters.

These drastic weather changes have come a few days after Cyclone Hidaya caused terrible loss of infrastructure and property in neighboring Tanzania. The coastal areas in Kenya remain on high alert as the public is asked to check regular updates from the MET Department website.