Weather Hazards Impacts Assessment for Africa: October 19 - 25, 2006

Report
from Famine Early Warning System Network
Published on 18 Oct 2006
Weekly Introduction:

Update of CPC Seasonal Outlooks at 4 Months Lead:

February-April 2007 Forecasts

Gulf of Guinea Region

There is a tilt in the odds favoring below normal rainfall over most parts in the region, including Liberia, eastern Guinea, southern and eastern Cote d'Ivoire, Ghana, and the northern halves of Togo and Benin.

Locust Update:

The FAO site (http://www.fao.org/ag/locusts/en/info/info/index.html) was last updated on October 13. Their report indicates that an increasing number of mature adult groups of Desert Locust have been found in northwest Mauritania by ground teams since 5 October. So far, one small swarm was seen on the 9th near the coast about 125 km north of Nouakchott. Most of the adults were laying eggs that started hatching on 13 October. Ground teams started control operations on the 9th near Bennichab and, so far, nearly 450 ha have been treated. More survey teams are being mobilized to the northwest (Inchiri), the north (Adrar and Tiris Zemmour) and the centre (north of Aioun El Atrous) to check other areas where rains have fallen last month and where nomads have seen adult groups. Additional locusts are expected to appear and breed in northwest Mauritania during the remainder of October as vegetation dries out in the summer breeding areas in southern Mauritania.

Weather Hazards Text Explanation:

1) After very poor rains during the 2005 short season, the 2006 long rains were abundant across much of Africa's Greater Horn. However, over much of northern and central Kenya, the March through May rains were lighter than average. This, in addition to the 2005 moisture deficits, resulted in the development of severe drought. The drought has resulted in a reduction of water supplies, crop failures, degradation of pastures and livestock losses across the region. Rainfall is expected to return the region during October, and scattered light rains have fallen. Additional light rains are possible this week.

2) The 2005 short rains failed across much of Somalia. The 2006 long rains were also lighter than normal in many areas. This has resulted in the development of a severe drought which has stressed pastures, reduced water supplies and resulted in livestock losses across the region. Some beneficial post-season rains fell across central Somalia, resulting in some improvement. In mid September, rain began to fall across northern Somalia and adjacent parts of southeastern Ethiopia, indicating a possible early start to the short rains. Recent rains, combined with post-seasonal rains earlier this year have resulted in some improved range and pasture conditions. However, the rain that has fallen during the month of October has been below normal, and additional deficits are already beginning to accumulate.

3) Seasonal rains have been abundant and well distributed across the highlands of Eritrea, eastern portions of Ahmara and Tigray. Abundant rains have also fallen across much of Afar, Djibouti and the Rift Valley, as well as southern Oromiya and SNNPR. This has favored Meher crops and pastures across the area while boosting water supplies.

4) Rainfall has been quite abundant this season across the Ethiopian Highlands. This has generally resulted in good crop conditions, favorable conditions for pulse crop seedbed preparations, good pasture conditions and abundant water supplies. However, periodic torrential rains have resulted in serious flooding problems in flood-prone areas, specifically along riverbanks and in low-lying areas. Heavy rains have resulted in some crop damage and water logging of some fields while raising concerns about crop pests. Abundant cloud cover and low sunshine hours has slowed the development of some crops as well. Seasonal rains have tapered off in most areas, easing the risk for flooding.

5) Ample, well distributed rains have fallen across much of central Sudan during July, August and September, favoring crops, pastures and water supplies in and around the region. The seasonal rainfall surplus of 50 to 150 mm across Darfur and Kurdufan has improved water supplies, but has also reduced access to IDP camps. Rainfall has begun to decrease as the 2006 wet season comes to a close. The drying trend will continue this week, with scattered showers over mainly the southern areas.

6) Rainfall and temperatures across southern South Africa have been favorable for the development of winter grains this season. These conditions have also favored pastures and water supplies in the area.

7) Ample, well distributed rains have fallen across most of the Sahel and adjacent areas this season, resulting in favorable conditions for crops and pastures while boosting water supplies. Rainfall has been particularly abundant in western Senegal, southern Mauritania and southern Chad. Seasonal rains started 2 to 4 weeks late across Niger, but were abundant after the onset. Some localized flooding problems have been observed, raising concerns about disease. Some flooding problems have been reported in northern Nigeria as well. In central Chad, many areas saw a slow start to the season in June. A delay in crop growing and pasture was observed in some location. However, rains were abundant during late July, August and September. A few pockets of dryness have been observed in the Sahel, such as in southeastern Senegal and in Niger's Tillaberi Department west of Niamey. Despite these localized problems, much of West Africa is on track for a good 2006 season. Seasonal rains are expected to continue over southern parts of the Sahel and the Gulf of Guinea area.

8) Heavy rains totaling over 180 mm in 48 hours fell on the Kenya coastline last week. The deluge washed out roads and there are reports of damage. Additional rainfall, though not as heavy is expected to fall on the area during the coming week. Heavy precipitation is also possible in nearby portions of Somalia and Tanzania. Minor flooding is possible during the coming period anywhere along this stretch of coast.

AUTHOR: Eric J. Wolvovsky

FEWS NET is a USAID-funded activity whose purpose is to provide objective information about food security conditions. Its views are not necessarily reflective of those of USAID. The FEWS NET weather hazards assessment process and products include participation by FEWS NET field and home offices, NOAA-CPC, USGS, NASA, and a number of other national and regional organizations in the countries concerned.

Questions or comments about this product may be directed to Chet.Schmitt@noaa.gov or 1-301-763-8000 x7519

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