Thu, September 04, 2008
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Kenya's weather is snow joke

2008-09-04 06:45:22 GMT2008-09-04 14:45:22 (Beijing Time) Reuters

SCRIPT:

It's not exactly blizzard conditions but locals here have been given the day off because of the snow.

But then this isn't the Alps, it's Africa - a small area of Kenya's Rift Valley to be precise.

Most of the locals here have never seen real snow and probably never will again.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) CHARLES KANUTHU, STUDENT, SAYING:

"We have come here to visit because we have never seen this kind of thing and because we have been hearing that once upon a time like 30 years, it had happened again, that is why we have come here so that even us we can see what happened."

Normal life was abandoned for a few hours so everyone could enjoy the rare phenomenon.

Some clearly weren't sure what to do with the cool white stuff.

(SOUNDBITE) (Swahili) SIMON KIMANI, NYAHURURU RESIDENT, SAYING:

"It's very sweet. I tried it because we've never seen it here before. It's like ice and with the sun being so hot it feels really good."

Meteorologists say the convergence of cold air from the Indian Ocean with warm air from the Congo caused the unusual weather conditions.

But one local official believes the snow was partly man made.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) LOCAL DISTRICT COMMISSIONER, HASSAN FARAH SAYING:

"This place in 1990 was a forest, covered completely with trees. Farmers were allowed to cultivate within the forest and cut trees, cultivate and then replant the trees. But unfortunately the trees were not replanted and that is why we are on a bare hilltop today."

Hassan Farah also believes the freak weather is snow fun.

He says it's a warning about climate change.

He may be right but most were simply enjoying weather they've only ever seen on tv.

Sonia Legg, Reuters.

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