Weather Hazards Impacts Assessment for Africa: July 20 - 26, 2006

Report
from Famine Early Warning System Network
Published on 19 Jul 2006


Weekly Introduction

Sahel

The outlook for August - October 2006 Sahel rainfall at one month lead is very similar to last month's update and shows a tilt in the odds favoring

above average rainfall across the Sahel from western Mali and southern Mauritania eastward into Niger. There is also a tilt in the odds to favor

above normal rainfall over eastern Chad.

Gulf of Guinea

There is a slight tilt of the odds toward below normal rainfall over northern Ivory Coast and eastern Benin to central Nigeria .

Northern Horn of Africa

There is a tilt in the odds favoring above average over southeastern Sudan, northern Uganda and Kenya and western and central Ethiopia. There is

a slight tilt of the odds toward below average rainfall over local parts of western and central Sudan.



Weather Hazards Benefits Text Explanation:

1) After the failure of the 2005 short rains across much of Africa's Greater Horn, the 2006 long rains were above average across many areas. However, across much of northern Kenya, the March through May rains were lighter than average. Rainfall amounts were only 50 to 75 percent of normal. These shortfalls, combined with the very poor 2005 rains, have resulted in the development of a severe drought. Rainfall deficits of 250 to 500+ mm since January 1, 2005 have resulted in a reduction of water supplies, crop failures, degradation of pastures and livestock losses across the region. The next chance for significant rains will not be until October with the arrival of the 2006 short rains.

2) The 2005 short rains all but completely failed across much of Somalia. The 2006 long rains were also lighter than normal in many areas. From March 1 through May 31, rainfall amounts were only 40 to 70 percent of normal, resulting in deficits of 50 to 150 mm. This has resulted in the development and continuation of a severe drought which has stressed pastures, reduced water supplies and resulted in livestock losses across the region. The next chance for significant rains will not be until October with the arrival of the 2006 short rains.

3) Rainfall has been light and spotty across much of Djibouti and adjacent portions of Somalia and Ethiopia. Since January 1, rainfall totals are less than 50 percent of normal. This has resulted in rainfall deficits of 25 to 75 mm. Dry conditions have degraded pastures and reduced water supplies in the area. Recent showers have resulted in some relief across southwestern parts of Djibouti. Scattered showers are possible during the period, mainly inland.

4) More than twice the normal amount of rain fell in and around the Ahmar Mountains of Ethiopia and northwestern Somalia from February through May. These rains benefited pastures, crops and water supplies in the area. However, rainfall since early June has been light and scattered. Rainfall totals since June 1 are only 40 to 70 percent of normal, resulting in deficits of 40 to 100 mm. The lack of rainfall in recent weeks has stressed crops and pastures in the area. This stress is evident in recent satellite imagery. Scattered showers are possible during the period, which may result in some improvement.

5) Seasonal rains have been abundant across western Ethiopia, southern Ethiopia and the highlands of Eritrea. In the Meher production areas of Tigray, Ahmara, Beneshangul Gumuz, western Oromiya, SNNPR and Gambella, rainfall totals since June 1 are 100 to 150 percent of normal. These rains have resulted in generally good crop conditions across these areas. However, some local areas were affected by excessive amounts of rainfall and hailstorms. Rainfall has been normal to above normal across the highlands of southwestern Eritrea as well. Over the pastoral areas of Guji, Borena, South Omo and adjacent parts of northern Kenya, rainfall during the March – May season was 120 to 250 percent of normal, resulting in rejuvenation of pasture and water supplies. Seasonal rains are expected across the Meher areas of Ethiopia and Eritrea during the period.

6) Seasonal rains have been heavy over the western highlands of Ethiopia. Very heavy amounts of rain have been observed in recent weeks over western Ahmara and northern Oromiya. This has resulted in high amounts of runoff into the Blue Nile. Additional rains are expected during the period, some of which will be heavy. River flooding is a concern along the Blue Nile and its major tributaries from Beneshangul Gumuz region in Ethiopia northwest to Khartoum, Sudan. Inundation of fields, villages and pastures near the river is possible during the period.

7) Good rains fell across much of Uganda and southwestern Kenya during the March through May season. However, rainfall has been light and spotty since early June in some areas. Rainfall totals have been less than half of normal over northwestern Uganda, central Uganda and southwestern Kenya away from Lake Victoria. While the recent dryness has favored the dry-down and harvesting of mature crops, main season corn and sorghum that has yet to mature still requires moisture. The recent dryness may result in reductions to yield and crop quality.

8) Seasonal rains started 2 to 3 weeks late over central Chad. However, significant rain fell during the second week of July in Ouaddai, Salamat, southern Batha and Guera. However, more rain is needed in western Biltine and northern Batha where rainfall is still 30 to 60 mm below normal so far this season.

9) Rainfall has been lighter than normal over the past few months across portions of southern CAR. Rainfall amounts since June 1 are 50 to 75 percent of normal. This may result in some stress to local agriculture. However, recent rains have resulted in some improvement. Additional rains are expected to further ease deficits in the area.

10) Seasonal rains were 2 to 4 weeks late over portions of southwestern Niger. However, rainfall over the past few weeks has signaled the start to the rainy season and has eased deficits. However, seasonal rains have been slow to start across central Mali and the pastoral areas of southwestern Niger. Scattered showers have been observed across these areas, but more substantial rains will be needed. Over southwestern Mali, seasonal rains have started early, however rainfall has been lighter than normal over the past several weeks. Over central Mali and southern Niger, prospects for rain are good during the period. Therefore, improvement is expected. Over southwestern Mali, seasonal rains are expected to reduce moisture deficits.

11) After abundant rains during early and mid May, seasonal rains tapered off across portions of Togo and Benin. Rainfall totals since June 1 are only about half of normal across the area, resulting in short term dryness. However, recent rains have reduced deficits. Additional rainfall is expected during the period.

12) Seasonal rains have been less intense than usual over southern Sierra Leone, northern Liberia and adjacent parts of Guinea. This has resulted in a reduction of runoff into the rivers and has caused low reservoir levels in some areas. These low water levels may result in water shortages in some locations. Although seasonal rains are expected during the period, rainfall deficits are expected to persist during the period.

AUTHOR: Chester V. Schmitt

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

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.

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