Weatherman should style up on predictions

By , People Daily Digital
Friday, September 17th, 2021 11:43 | 2 mins read

Three announcements made in the last few weeks point to worrying planning in government. The first came from the meteorological department that the short rains will fail.

This prompted President Uhuru Kenyatta to declare drought a national disaster.

The result of the declaration is that money budgeted for other causes would be redirected for the weather emergency.

On Monday came the third announcement of expected heavy rains in at least 21 counties going into the weekend and early next week. The torrential rains, the forecaster warned, would cause flooding and mudslides in the affected regions.

The forecaster went ahead to advise farming com- munities to take advantage of the downpour and prepare their farms accordingly. That must have been the joke of the week; announcing on Monday that rains are coming and expecting farms to be ready by the weekend!

The cavalier manner in which we handle weather predictions is shocking. We are a rain-fed agriculture economy, so any slight changes to the weather pat- terns affects not just food production but all spheres of society.

It is, therefore, expected that accurate weather prediction would be one of the national security services.

Majority of crops have a routine cycle and this is pegged on weather patterns such that normal planting will be done in anticipation of the long rains and majority subsistence farmers will capitalise on the short rains to grow extra crops to supplement their income.

If there are changes to the weather pattern it is up to the forecaster to prepare farmers early enough for the variations. An advisory on which crops to be planted because the rains will not be normal will go a long way in mitigating effects of such climatic conditions.

With the current technological advancements, shared intelligence and best practices, the forecaster has no excuse to leave the country to its own devices on matters weather.

Traditional forecasters could predict weather accurately and that helped society to avoid or assuage effects of extreme conditions. The Meteorological Department should give accurate predictions for months ahead.

A cursory search on the internet reveals other organisations and countries are doing it. Why can’t we? Asking farmers to prepare land on Monday for a weekend downpour is an insult.

Failing to accurately detect climatic changes and shifts in weather is a disservice. Accurate predictions will spare the country agony of failed crops and put smiles on farmers’ faces.

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