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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (10-20 July 2020)

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Situation Report
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Highlights

• Much better rains since early July have relieved the rainfall deficits experienced since the early stages of the season in west Africa region. Wetter than average conditions are now predominant across the Sahel. In contrast, the Gulf of Guinea countries from western Guinea, Sierra Leone to south western Nigeria remain under drier than average conditions.

• While vegetation cover remains depressed due to early season dryness, good rainfall in the past few weeks will lead to significant improvements in early August. Availability of water resources is now already satisfactory throughout the West African region.

• Short-term forecasts into a one month rainfall analysis to late July indicate that wetter than average conditions will spread across the region except the gulf guineas costal areas from Liberia to Togo. If these forecasts are realized, early deficit will continue to be alleviated and bring more favourable conditions for the early stages of the growing season and help to vegetation resumption.

• According PRESASS seasonal forecasts update in July, above average rainfall is expected in Sahelian countries for the period July-August-September while rainfall amounts will be concentrated in the mid - season between mid-July and August. It emerges, the dry spells should be longer to normal over most Sudan-Sahelian belt in the second half of the season, including the heading, flowering and the crops ripening phases with strong probabilities of late to normal end of season in agricultural areas of Sahelian countries except far northern Senegal, western Mali and the agricultural areas of Mauritania.

• However, ECMWF forecasts (for August–October 2020) point to below-average rainfall in the Sahel region over Northern and eastern Senegal, Gambia, Mali, Burkina, Niger and half northern Chad. In the southern regions conditions will likely be average to mostly near average except most of Cameroun, Sierra Leone,
Liberia and pockets over Central Nigeria, Northern Ghana and north-western Cote d’Ivoire where Belowaverage rainfall is expected. The two sets of forecasts are not particularly consistent at the moment, with ECMWF being more pessimistic.