Normal rainfall expected in most parts of Somalia
The Gu rainy season is the primary cropping season in Somalia because it is more dominant in terms of quantity and reliability. 75% of the annual rainfall in Somalia is recorded during this season. The Gu rains start in March/April and ends at different times throughout the country depending on the movement of the Inter-Tropical Convergence Zone (ITCZ) which is responsible for driving the rainfall.
According to the recently issued climate forecast for the Greater Horn of Africa, the 2016 Gu rainy season in Somalia is expected to be within normal. However, there is increased likelihood of near normal to below normal rains (yellow polygon as shown in Map-1) with 40% probability of experiencing normal rains and 35% probability of below normal rains in Somaliland, the northern parts of Puntland, Juba valley and parts of Lower Shabelle.
Mudug and Nuugal regions, parts of Bari region and most areas in the southern parts of the country are expected to receive enhanced rains with 40% probability of normal rains and 35% probability of above normal rains (green polygon as shown in Map-1). The Ethiopian highlands whose rainfall contributes about 90% of the river flow in Juba and Shabelle rivers inside Somalia are also expected to record normal to above normal rains.
The foreseen rainfall pattern may vary from place to place with the areas expected to receive high rains experiencing periods of prolonged dry spells and areas expected to receive low rains experiencing heavy storms.
The below normal rains in Somaliland and Puntland are expected to have negative impacts given the ongoing drought conditions. The situation is expected to improve; however cases of water shortage for crop growth and domestic use might arise. Conflict over the scarce resources cannot be ruled out. Therefore, there is need for proper utilization and conservation of the rain water. Water harvesting is highly advised in these areas during the rainy season. Further, parts of Gedo region in the south which recorded below normal rains in the previous season will also be affected negatively by the predicted below average rains.
There is a likelihood of flash floods in Nugaal and Mudug regions which are expected to record normal to above normal rains. Build up areas and low lying areas will be worst affected in the event of heavy storms. Early measures therefore need to be put in place including drainage cleaning; water harvesting and awareness are highly recommended.
Riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers is also expected given the forecast. Heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands may lead to flooding along the two rivers. The areas expected to be affected include middle and lower reaches of the two rivers where there still exist open river banks and weak river embankments.
SWALIM and other technical partners will keep updating this forecast for shorter lead time periods and will share with you through the regular bulletins throughout the rainfall season. A list of open river breakages will be shared by SWALIM soon. For more information about the climate outlook methodology and statement please visit: http://www.icpac.net