Somalia + 7 more

Africa Drought and Floods Hazards Assessment: March 24, 2004

Originally published

CCA Guidance for Gulf of Guinea Rainfall in April-June 2004 at One Month Lead
The Gulf of Guinea is defined as the region between 5N -12N and 15W-10E. The prediction for April-May-June 2004 rainfall at one month lead (ggAMJ1.gif) essentially calls a tilting of the odds favoring above average precipitation over most of the region. There is a small region in southern Nigeria where there is a tilting of the odds favoring below average precipitation. This overall pattern would be in contrast to 2003 when much of the regions rainfall was well below average. Over Africa, the main body of heavy rainfall has continued to be maintained in the mid-central portion of Africa mainly in an area extending from Gabon in the west through Angola and the DRC to Tanzania on the east. Western Zambia and Zimbabwe received scattered heavy rains up to 75 mm, whereas eastern Zimbabwe and Mozambique received very little rain over this past week. South Africa, Lesotho and Swaziland received only light rains although there were some scattered heavy rains in southern South Africa.

While Kenya saw little rainfall during the period, Ethiopia saw general amounts of about 25 mm over most of the central portion of the country with up to 75 mm in the southern portion along the Sudan border. The Gulf of Guinea region saw continuing rainfall during this past week with some amounts up to about 75 mm along the coast. Finally, northern Africa received only light precipitation extending into Algeria and northern Tunisia.


Africa Weather Hazards Assessment Text Explanation

March 25-31, 2004

1) Long term drought continues in the Sool Plateau region of northern Somalia due to poor rainfall during the past 5+ seasons. No improvement is likely until at least April as hydrological and agricultural problems remain.

2) Hydrological drought continues in parts of southern Ethiopia / Northern Kenya and eastern Ethiopia / west-central Somalia due to poor 2003 rainfall. The eastern zone should begin to accumulate seasonal rainfall in April, while the western area is already somewhat slow to start. Along with the area depicted, parts of northwestern Kenya need to be closely monitored for delayed rainfall, as food security problems are likely.

3) Due to copious year to date rainfall in much of Tanzania, long term hydrological drought has been relieved in much of the region. Further north along the eastern Kenya/Tanzania border region, drought continues, though 2004 rains have been near satisfactory. Locally up to 50 mm rainfall may occur during the next week in the problem area.

4) Rains during the past dekad were once again much less than normal in much of southern Mozambique. As the season winds down and late planted crops may be looking for additional moisture, this dryness would only benefit crops which have somehow reached their harvesting stage. On a positive note, a cold front may produce moderate rainfall in extreme southern Mozambique toward the beginning of the forecast period.

5) Associated with area 4, seasonal dryness continues throughout much of central and southern Mozambique and parts of eastern Zimbabwe due to erratic and lighter than normal precipitation during late 2003-early 2004. Rainfall from last dekad was much lighter than normal in these areas, though the previous dekad saw locally heavy rains. Rains normally ending in late March-early April may have already ended, as little precipitation is forecast during the next week. In central South Africa and parts of Lesotho, seasonal dryness has affected agricultural production, however the area has experienced locally moderate rains during the past few weeks. This moisture would certainly benefit any late-planted crops.

6) Flooding remains a concern throughout areas in and around the Upper Zambezi Basin, the Kafue Basin, and near the northern Botswana/Zimbabwe border in southern Africa. Daily showers and thunderstorms continue to produce locally heavy rains in parts of western and central Zambia, and the surrounding area, as an axis of convection has remained entrenched over the region. Additional rainfall is expected during the next week and high river levels will remain.

7) Beneficial precipitation has fallen since late February in much of Morocco, northern Algeria, and northern Tunisia, ending the 2-month dry spell in the region. Though seasonal rainfall totals are near normal in the area, the poor distribution and extended dry spell has undoubtedly hampered agriculture. Another period of locally heavy rainfall can be expected during the next week, with 7-day accumulations topping 50 mm in some locations.

8) Tropical Cyclone 21S has formed in the southern Indian Ocean, and as of March 24 was located a few hundred kilometers northeast of Madagascar. While the system is not particularly intense, large, or poised to hit the island, the possibility remains for landfall within the week.

Timothy Love