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Expert Predicts More Heavy Rain, Flooding in Kenya, Southern Ethiopia

FILE - A general view of the Hell's Gate National Park, on Sept. 2, 2019, a day after floodwaters rushed through the park, killing seven people.

U.S. weather forecasters predict continued heavy rainfall in eastern African regions that have already been hit hard by heavy rains and flash flooding.

The regions including the southern part of Ethiopia, Southern Sudan, Uganda, the northern part of Tanzania, and Kenya usually get limited rainfall from September to December, according the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

This year, however, heavy rains have struck northern Kenya for weeks, causing flash floods that have displaced thousands of people and swept away hundreds of livestock.

Galma Dabaso lives in Walda, one of the affected areas. He says the area has lost hundreds of animals.

“The rain started last night and [is] still pouring. We have never seen this much rainfall. It has caused so much destruction. We are circled by water. Houses are destroyed, rivers have overflown. We are moving to the higher ground to save our lives and animals,” he tells VOA's Horn of Africa region.

Wassila Thiaw, a NOAA meteorologist, said while this is the beginning of the short rainfall season, eastern Africa has seen extremely heavy rainfall.

Parts of southern Ethiopia that ordinarily do not receive rain until around October, according to NOAA, have recorded more than 120 millimeters above their normal rainfall usual levels. "That is about 625 percent of their normal rainfall,” Thiaw said.

“These rainfalls in the region," he says "are very unusual."

Thiaw blames the current heavy rainfall in East Africa on large-scale movements in the ocean and the atmosphere.

He says winds have brought in moist, warm air from the western Indian Ocean. This, he says, "contributes to the moisture surplus that trigger extremely heavy rainfall amount in this region… triggering flooding that we have been seeing.”

Thiaw says the situation to continue in coming weeks.

“Over all we predict above [average] rainfall for in October November and December in the area," he says, adding that continued flooding and heavy rainfall could affect food security.