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West Africa Seasonal Monitor (2021 Season) - May 1 - 10 2021

Situation Report
Originally published



• The rainy season started in the southernmost parts of West Africa. Light to moderate rainfall was observed across much of the region, with the heaviest rainfall totals recorded over Liberia, southern Guinea, Sierra Leone, northern Ghana, southern Nigeria, Cameroon, over CAR and southern Chad. Elsewhere, rainfall was light and scattered. The below-average rainfall indicates a poor start to the season for some coastal areas, while the Sahel recorded neutral conditions (seasonal rains have not started in this period).

• The early season (in early May) is characterized by drier than average conditions. This dryness affects large areas in the Gulf of Guinea, specifically in Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin as well as western and northern Guinea, western Mali, eastern Burkina Faso , most of Nigeria, southern Niger, north-eastern Benin, northern Cameroon and south-eastern CAR. This early season dryness affected vegetation growth conditions. How the seasonal development will further evolve remains to be seen, but continued close monitoring will be crucial in coming months.

• According to short-term forecasts, the second dekad of May will be drier than average across the region except for some areas in western Guinea, eastern and central Cameroon, and eastern CAR. This pattern is also reflected in the one-month rainfall – with mostly drier than average patterns across the region.

• According to the PRESASS 2021 seasonal forecast, average to above average rainfall is expected over the Sahelian and Sudanian belt for June - August and July - September while below average cumulative rainfall for the entire season will likely be observed over coastal areas of Mauritania, Senegal, Gambia, Guinea Bissau, Guinea, northern Sierra Leone, eastern Liberia, Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo, Benin, Nigeria, and Cameroon. These conditions are associated with an early to normal onset of rains and long to medium dry spells over most of the Sahel.