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‘Snowflakes’ in Nyahururu were hail stones, says expert
Source: By Elizabeth Mwai and Daniel Nzia - The Standard
Source Date: Thursday, September 04, 2008
Focus: ICT for MDGs
Country: Kenya
Created: Sep 04, 2008

‘Snowflakes’ in Nyahururu were hail stones, says expert

By Elizabeth Mwai and Daniel Nzia

Experts have clarified that the snow-like substance that fell in Gikingi Village in Nyahururu on Tuesday was a hailstorm.

On Wednesday, the Kenya Meteorological Department director Joseph Mukabana said the substance was not snow as earlier thought.

He said its occurrence resulted from warm and moist incursion of Congo air mass pumped into relatively cool southeasterly winds from the Indian Ocean.

"The large temperature difference resulted in rapid humidification of air, and strong updrafts pushing mixed air up to 12 to 15km and 69 degrees Celsius," Mukabana said.

Speaking at the Meteorological headquarters, he said the cumulonimbus cloud that formed became a ‘Super Cell or Mesoscale Convective Complex (MCC), which dissipates and regenerates itself as it moves in a given direction and carries hailstones.

The super cell started forming at 1pm in the Western side of Mount Kenya, above the Aberdare ranges and rapidly advected westwards towards Nyandarua. The hailstorms (Super cell) dissipated at 4pm.

However, due to the cold temperatures in the area the hailstorm did not melt, but joined together to form the expansive sheets or snowflakes occupying an area estimated at 30 acres.

Meanwhile, Kenyans should expect increased food production and adequate electricity generation as experts forecast sufficient rains.

The climate outlook report released on Wednesday showed the short rains were expected in a fortnight.

It indicated enhanced rainfall supply in most parts of the country, except North Eastern.

"Farmers are therefore advised to work with the Agriculture ministry to take advantage of the expected rainfall performance to maximise crop production," Mukabana said.

Elsewhere, Nairobi Metropolitan Development Minister Mutula Kilonzo has appealed to the Government and humanitarian agencies to send relief food supplies to Ukambani to avert hunger related deaths.

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