Hotter and drier than normal weather conditions prevailed in most parts of Somalia during the Jillal (January-March) season. As expected, there was no rainfall recorded at raingauge stations nationwide (Map1 and Table 1) in the month of January. Field reports confirm continued dry and hot weather conditions across the country. Observed river levels in Juba and Shabelle have significantly reduced due to poor Deyr (October – December 2016) rainfall experienced in the upper catchments in Ethiopia and within Somalia coupled with increased use of the river water.
Rainfall estimates (RFE) derived from Tropical Applications of Meteorology using SATellite (TAMSAT) also indicate the absence of rainfall in January 2017 across the country including in the Northwest where Hays rains (December-January) are normally expected. Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) derived from E-Modis satellite indicates biomass conditions have continued to deteriorate further compared to Long Term Mean (LTM) of 2001-2016 in large areas of Somalia, with large vegetation cover deficits prevalent in southern Somalia. The most affected areas according to NDVI include; Cowpea Belt, Sorghum High Potential, Southern Rainfed maize, \Southern Hiran Pastoral/agropastoral livelihoods and small to large pastoral areas in Gedo and the Jubas. However NDVI also depicts greener vegetation in localised pastoral livelihoods in L. Shabelle and the Jubas (Maps 3-5 and 7).
Following the largely below average Deyr (October–December 2016) rains and poor and erratic rains which followed during the Gu 2016 (April–June 2016) season, pasture and water conditions have continued to deteriorate in most areas of the country which is currently facing severe to extreme drought conditions. The Northern Inland Pastoral of Sool, Sanaag, Bari and Nugal regions, East Golis of (Sanag and Bari) and large parts of Addun in Central regions are the worst affected areas. Widespread water trucking and increased and abnormal livestock migration leading to faster depletion of the limited pasture and water resources in drought affected areas.
Drought is expected to worsen until the start of the 2017 Gu rains in April. Shabelle river levels have already started drying up in lower parts of the catchment around Jowhar with adverse impact on riverine and agropastoral livelihoods. This includes reduced possibility of water trucking in these areas.
The rainfall forecast from Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF 45) released on 7th February 2017 by IGAD for March to May 2017 rains indicates a high likelihood of below normal to near normal rains across most parts of the country during the coming Gu 2017 rainy season.
Therefore, even after the start of the 2017 Gu rains in April, drought conditions and impact are expected to persist.