"The rains this year began promptly on the 1st of April." So begins a column by Gareth Jones on 11 May, titled "Kenya: Wet in the Wild" and published by AllAfrica Global Media.
At the summit of Kilimanjaro, seasonal precipitation in the form of snow began at exactly the same time, as the screen shot below illustrates. Four-hourly data by telemetry are shown here as circles, from 2 different sensors. The red line simply smooths out a diurnal cycle, and y-axes units are meters of snow accumulation.
If snowfall on the mountain continues through the rest of May, as the Kenya Meteorological Department is forecasting for rains to the north, the 2012 long rains will be one of the snowiest on the Northern Ice Field since our measurements began in 2000.