Kenya – Flash Floods in Nairobi After 3 Hour Storm

Residents of Nairobi, Kenya, were caught up in flash floods late on 28 April, 2016 after a storm brought heavy rainfall that lasted for nearly 3 hours.

It is not yet established how much damage has been caused, although images from social media showed flood water up to 1 metre deep in some streets, uprooted trees and damage to buildings and vehicles. The flooding also caused massive traffic jams on Nairobi’s already busy roads.

Many locals were blaming the Governor of Nairobi City County, Dr. Evans Kidero for not maintaining the city’s drainage system. Other pointed out that the flooding has been worsened by drainage channels blocked by garbage and that residents of Nairobi have a responsibility in keeping the channels clear.

Local media also blame illegal construction of buildings along the river, blocking the flow of water during times of heavy rain. Kenyan tech news site, Kachwanya, says:

“A quick drive around the Southern parts of Nairobi starting from Nairobi West to most parts of Langata Road and Mombasa road reveal that there are hundreds of high rise buildings that have been constructed along the waterways that have played a huge role in blocking the natural course of water flow. To resolve the Nairobi Floods perennial problems, these buildings must be brought down – now”.

Social Media

Previous Floods in Nairobi

It is not the first time Nairobi has experienced such raging floods in recent times. Wide areas of the city were flooded on 01 April after 96 mm of rain fell in 6 hours. The worst hit areas of the city include South C and Mbagathi.

Last year on 12 May, many people were severely affected by a flood that left at leat 10 people dead in South C after a wall of a building collapsed.

Forecasts

The Kenya Meteorological Department (KMD) had earlier on issued a severe weather warning and advisory that targeted at least 10 counties including Kwale, Mombasa, Kisii, Tana River, Lamu, Kericho, Narok and Bomet.

In the warning, KMD informed that public that at more than 40mm of rainfall would be experienced on 27 and 28 April, 2016. KMD’s five day weather forecast (PDF) shows a continued trend of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya.

A 24 hour cumulative rainfall forecast for 28 April, 2016 by NCEP predicted areas of that had potential to receive as high as 125mm.

A 24 hour cumulative precipitation forecast by GFS Model. Image: NOAA
A 24 hour cumulative precipitation forecast by GFS Model. Image: CPC / NOAA

Deep convective clouds from satellite images from early morning indicated a likelihood of heavy rainfall in most parts of Kenya and East Africa including Congo basin.

Satellite image of 28 April, 2016 at 13:00UTC. Image: EUMETSAT
Satellite image of 28 April, 2016 at 13:00UTC. Image: EUMETSAT