When you think of Budalangi, what comes to your mind? Floods. Yes, you are right,
but of late, nothing is reported about the perennial floods in the area. This is now a thing of the past. The people of Budalangi can now sit pretty and concentrate on improving their lives and developing the nation without worrying about their lives and destruction of property. Thanks to timely weather information provided by the Kenya Meteorological Department.
Ag. Director of the Kenya Meteorological Department Peter Ambenje says the government has invested heavily in weather equipment to ensure accurate information on all components of weather for use by various stakeholders. He says the department has installed 72 automatic weather stations across the country which provide real time information on all aspects of weather including pressure, temperature, humidity, rainfall, wind etc every 10 minutes. The data is transmitted to Nairobi where it is analysed and disseminated to sector specific stakeholders who include aviation, marine, agricultural sectors, ministries, the media among others.
In the case of Budalangi, he said a flood forecast model was installed in Nzoia basin to undertake weather forecast everyday and broadcast the information through the community radio station 2-3 days before the floods for mitigation purposes. The community radio is located within the weather station and broadcasts weather and development news to the locals.
‘Installing an automatic weather station is very expensive’, revealed the seasoned climate scientist. ‘It costs not less than 3m’, he adding that the department has also installed complex and more expensive weather stations at all the airports in the country.
Mr. Ambenje said this during this year’s World Meteorological Day national celebrations held in Kitui County. The occasion was graced by the Cabinet Secretary in the Ministry on Environment and Natural Resources Prof. Judi Wakhungu and attended by officials from the national and county governments.