By DAVID MUCHUI
The Meteorological (MET) service in Kenya lacks capacity to give accurate weather forecast leading to lack of confidence from the public, a weather man has said.
Speaking during a Weather advisories workshop in Meru, Prof Peter Kamau, a Meteorologist and agriculture lecturer at Kenya Methodist University said the Meru weather station lacks equipment and space for proper data collection.
“The Meteorological station in Meru is in a poor condition hence predicting weather in Meru is an uphill task. The sunshine recorder and rain gauge broke down long ago and has not been replaced. The probability of the forecast being correct can’t exceed 60 percent. That is very poor,” Prof Kamau said.
He said that Kenya Meteorological department continues to rely on borrowed equipment from Europe hence lacks appropriate technology to improve forecast.
“It should be known that the Meteorological department is very crucial to weather preparedness by various sectors. MET infrastructure in Meru is poor hence only general information is given. There is need for the County government and other stakeholders to support the department if we will get reliable weather information,” he remarked.
Meru County MET officer Mr Kaburu Nyaga echoed the sentiments saying that lack of resources has continued to hamper weather data collection.
“The MET department in Meru is hosted by KeMU University. The station has been in Meru since the 1970s yet there is no vehicle. MET stations are located over 90 kilometers apart hence we rely on voluntary weather observers in parts of the County,” Kaburu said.
They called on the county government to allocate land for the Meteorological station because the current location does not meet standards.
Meru County Agriculture Sector Development Support Programme (ASDSP) Coordinator John Rutere noted that agriculture being the bulwark of the economy, the government needs to give priority to weather forecasting.
Meru County Commissioner Chege Mwangi said there is need for the MET department to move with speed and address the negative perception held by Kenyans.
Prof Kamau also said there is need for the MET department to research, document and utilize indigenous means of weather forecast.
Mr Kamau said there is no local supply of weather equipment as all weather stations are manned from abroad.
The two day Workshop is organized by ASDSP and the Meteorological department with the aim of assessing dissemination and utilization of weather information by farmers.