Continued Flooding in Kenya Causes Destruction

Strong thunderstorms dumped heavy rains and 20,000 lightning strikes in Kenya on 7 May 2016. The storm caused numerous deaths, injuries and damage to the southern Kenya region.


The Kenya Meteorological Department recorded 104mm of rain in Kabete Nairobi on 7 May. The heavy rainfall, most of which fell in just a few hours, created floods that drowned nine people. Of the nine deceased, three were children in Olwalo village, Kisumu County. Another four people were found deceased in Baringo’s Ilchamus ward.

flooded market
Photo: Nairobi News

In addition to the loss of life, the floods also displaced 4,000 families in Kenya. The rising river waters shut down the Nakumatt Ukay Supermarket in Westlands, Nairobi (pictured above) and submerged dozens of vehicles (shown below).

car in water


The heavy rainfall also saturated the soil in Mombasa country, causing a massive landslide that killed two. The body of a 22-year-old man was recovered at Shelly beach in Likoni while another of a 14-year-old landslide victim was recovered in Changamwe on Friday.]


Another landslide in Murang’a County prompted a search for an elderly woman that was later called off due to dangerous conditions as a result of the continued rainfall.


Earth Networks Total Lightning Network captured the storm’s high frequency of both cloud-to-ground and cloud-to-cloud lightning.

Lightning kills about 30 people each year in Kenya. Luckily, during the storms on 7 May no one lost their life due to lightning despite how much occurred. Earth Networks sent out seven Dangerous Thunderstorm Alerts in southwestern Kenya and northern Tanzania. DTAs (represented by the purple polygons in the image below) are generated by tracking total lightning and are designed to warn people of impending severe weather so that they have time to prepare.

kenya dta

In order to avoid being struck by lightning, Kenyan officials urge citizens not to carry umbrellas, not to lie on the ground and to stay away from metal bleachers, trees and any other conductors.