January represents the first month of the dry Jilaal (January–March) season. Dry weather conditions and relatively high temperatures prevailed during the month in most parts of the country. Observed rain gauge stations also indicate a similar trend across the country with most rain gauge stations reporting zero amounts of rainfall instead of the usual 1-10 mm of rainfall that is typically expected. (Map 1 and Table 1). Satellite –derived Rainfall Estimates (Map 2-5) also indicate a similar situation.
Vegetation cover measured through the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows continued deterioration in vegetation cover in the southern regions of Shabelles, parts of Bay, Gedo and Juba regions, which may be attributed to above average temperatures and below average 2018 Deyr (October-December) rains in most of these areas (Map 6-8).
While the absence of rainfall in January is normal for most parts of the country, dry conditions combined with warmer than normal temperatures are contributing to faster deterioration of pasture and water resources, especially in northern and central regions that received below average rainfall during the 2018 Deyr season. Due to below average rains, pasture conditions are degenerating in Guban pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP), Parts of Hawd of northeast and large pastoral livelihoods in central and southern regions. Water scarcity is major concern in the pastoral livelihood zones of northeast and central regions (Hawd,
Addun, parts of East Golis and Nothern Inland pastoral), which has already triggered earlier than normal water trucking at high prices. The dry conditions in the above mentioned water deficit areas are expected to prevail until the start of the 2019 Gu season rainfall in April.
On-going agricultural activities in the southern regions comprise harvesting of late planted crops such as sesame, maize and Sorghum. According to the statement issued by the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF51), there is increased likelihood of near normal to above normal March to May (Gu) season rainfall in most parts of Somalia.
However, below average to near average rainfall is more likely in the coastal parts of central regions and adjacent areas of northern and southern regions.