• A message about Equinox and how heat wave will hit some parts of Kenya have been doing rounds on social media since last week.

    Even as people continued to receive and circulate the message with hopes of helping someone to cope with the heat wave, the weatherman disputed the message dubbing it as merely a rumor.

    “Due to the equinox phenomenon that will affect in the next 5 days, please stay indoors especially from 12pm-3pm daily. The temperature will fluctuate till 40 degrees Celsius. This can easily cause dehydration and sun stroke,” the circular read in part.

    The WhatsApp message went on to advise Kenyans and particularly those living in the coastal region to drink up to three liters of water daily to prevent dehydration, and monitor their pressure as frequently as possible. It also urged people to take cold showers frequently.

    The Kenya Meteorological Department’s Deputy Director, Peter Ambenje however, refuted the claims, saying that Kenya is not experiencing heat waves.

    “We are not expecting any heat waves because of the equinox – those are just stories doing rounds on social media. There are places in Kenya where the temperature gets to 40 degrees, but that is not out of the ordinary,” he was quoted by Citizen Digital.

    He added that there would be the usual fluctuation of temperature but assured Kenyans that it is nothing to worry about.

    So, what is an equinox?

    Mr Ambenje noted that an equinox is a normal astronomical phenomenon that occurs twice a year.

    “The equinox that people are talking about is simply the transition from the winter to spring, and this happens in March every year. It is more evident as you move further from the equator. The next one will take place in September,” he said.

    Many believed the warning due to high temperatures levels experienced recently in the coastal region and other parts of the country.

    Equinox is a Latin word for equal night. During an equinox, the daytime and nighttime are exactly the same lengths, 12 hours. This phenomenon occurs twice a year, normally on March 20 and September 22, when the earth is tilted neither toward nor away from the sun. This mark the changing of seasons as Earth travels around the sun.

    In essence, there are two types of equinoxes: In the Northern Hemisphere, the March phenomenon is referred to as vernal equinox, and the September one is called autumnal equinox. In contrast, in the Southern Hemisphere, the names are the opposite because the seasons are switched. For example, autumn and the autumnal equinox occur in the Southern Hemisphere in March, when it is spring in the Northern Hemisphere.

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