The hydrological effects of two extreme rainfall events over East Africa, 1961 and 1997

Declan Conway

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An assessment of the hydrological effects of the two most extreme October-November rainfall events in East Africa during the twentieth century is provided. Flow records for major rivers draining large parts of East (White Nile and Tana), central (Congo and Oubangui), the Horn (Blue Nile and Atbara) and southern Africa (Zambezi) are used for the analysis. During and after the 1961 event flooding was widespread throughout the region. Between 1961 and 1964 the cumulative excess volume of flow above the 1961-1990 mean of all the rivers analysed was 357 km3 year-1. The availability of hydrological data for 1997 is restricted to the Blue Nile (unexceptional flows), Congo (very high flows) and Lake Victoria (significant rise in lake level). The historical records are surveyed for possible precedents to these events and the year most similar is 1878, which is generally noted as an extremely wet year across the region.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)475-482
Number of pages8
JournalIAHS-AISH Publication
Publication statusPublished - 2002


  • East Africa
  • Extremes
  • Flooding
  • Nile
  • Rainfall

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