Land and Resources, Climate
Lake Victoria basin, settlement patterns, Kisumu, rainy seasons, Nairobi
Kenya’s different topographical regions experience distinct climates. The coastal region is largely humid and wet. The city of Malindi, for instance, receives an average rainfall of 1,050 mm (41 in) per year, with average temperatures ranging from 21° to 32°C (70° to 90°F) in January and 20° to 29°C (68° to 84°F) in July. The low plateau area is the driest part of the country. There, the town of Wajir receives an average annual rainfall of 320 mm (13 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 19° to 37°C (66° to 99°F) in January and 19° to 34°C (66° to 93°F) in July. Nairobi, in the temperate Kenya highlands, receives an average annual rainfall of 790 mm (31 in) and experiences average temperatures ranging from 9° to 29°C (48° to 84°F) in January and 7° to 26°C (45° to 79°F) in July. Higher elevation areas within the highlands receive much larger amounts of rainfall. The Lake Victoria basin in western Kenya is generally the wettest region in the country, particularly the highland regions to the north and south of Kisumu, where average annual rainfall ranges from 1,740 mm (70 in) to 1,940 mm (80 in). Average temperatures in this region range from 14° to 34°C (57° to 93°F) in January and 14° to 30°C (57° to 86°F) in July.
Rainfall occurs seasonally throughout most of Kenya. The coast, eastern plateaus, and lake basin experience two rainy seasons: the “long rains” extends roughly from March to June, and the “short rains” lasts from approximately October to December. The highlands of western Kenya have a single rainy season, lasting from March to September. All parts of the country are subject to periodic droughts, or delays in the start of the rainy seasons. Kenya’s climate has had a profound effect on settlement patterns, as for centuries population has been concentrated in the wettest areas of the country.
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