The hailstones covered an entire village and caused a traffic jam on the 10 km stretch Rumuruti road. Photo / KNA

Residents of Limunga village in Marmanet ward, Laikipia County, are counting losses after heavy hailstorms pounded the area, destroying their crops.

The more than four hours downpour, shredded their maize crops, while beans and potatoes were buried in the snow for the better part of Tuesday night.

“Our plants had not recovered from the harsh dry spell that had hit this region for the last one month, and now, this is a big blow. We are not sure whether they will regenerate since beans and potatoes were completely buried in the snow,” said Joel Maina, whose two acre piece of land was completely buried in the snow.

Livestock were not spared either as some succumbed to the extreme cold temperatures with Maina fearing that more may not survive the cold.  “Most livestock were out in the fields as we did not anticipate this downpour. We are not sure they will survive,” he added.

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Area Agricultural officer Edward Karinga noted that apart from the physical damage to the crops, diseases particularly fungal infections that thrive in low temperatures were anticipated and urged the farmers to watch out for any signs.  “The intensity of damage may not equal what frost does to potatoes and beans but there are fungi that thrive in such temperatures,” he noted.

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Commuters on Nyahururu-Rumuruti road marvel at hailstones that pounded the Limunga area in Laikipia County on Tuesday (July 4th, 2017) evening. Photo / KNA

Mr Karinga said lower maize yields were also anticipated due to the damage.

Motorists plying the Nyahururu-Rumuruti road were also not spared as the thick layer of snow made the road impassable. “We had to drive carefully to avoid skidding and keep the traffic flowing to take advantage of the paths created by other vehicles,” noted Samuel Kimani, a motorist.

[crp]

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