Most of Somalia continued to receive little to no rainfall through the end of May
Continuing a trend of low rainfall since mid-May, field reports indicate that most of Somalia received little or no rainfall during the May 21-31 period.
According to preliminary CHIRPS remote sensing data, however, most of the country received less than 10 mm (mm) of rain, while localized areas in Juba, Bay, Shabelle, and Nugaal regions received 10 to 25 mm of rain. (Figure 1). Compared to the long-term average (1981-2018), total precipitation in most of northwestern and southern Somalia was 10-25 mm below average. In the rest of the country, rainfall totals were climatologically average (Figure 2). According to the most recent FAO SWALIM river station gauge data, water levels at key monitoring points along the Shabelle and Juba rivers have significantly receded and are currently well below moderate flood risk levels. The decline is attributed to low rainfall over both Somalia’s riverine areas and the upstream river catchments in the Ethiopian highlands. The seven-day forecast ending June 10 signals a prolonged dry spell across the country, eliminating the risk of flooding in areas along the Juba and Shabelle rivers.
In the Northwest, field reports were indicative of little to no rainfall in most rural areas of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Sanaag, and Sool regions during the May 21-31 period, marking a second consecutive monitoring period of little to no rainfall. However, remote sensing data detected light rainfall of 5-10 mm in some parts of Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions, especially in parts of East and West Golis Pastoral and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones. Despite suppressed rainfall over the past 20 days, rangeland conditions remain favorable thanks to the substantial rainfall that the Northwest received in late April and early May. Pasture and water availability are most likely adequate to sustain normal livestock body conditions and value through the end of the hagaa and karan seasons in September. However, Desert Locust hatching and band formation is ongoing, especially in parts of Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Togdheer region, and may lead to localized damage to pasture.
In the Northeast, most livelihood zones of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions received little to no rainfall during the May 21-31 period. In Bari, dry conditions persisted in East Golis Pastoral, Northern Inland Pastoral, and Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zones for the second consecutive monitoring period. Most livelihood zones in Nugaal and northern Mudug similarly received no rainfall, except for Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Burtinle district of Nugaal region, which received localized, light rain. As a result, rangeland conditions have deteriorated significantly, especially in Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing livelihood zone and in eastern Northern Inland Pastoral and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones where access to pasture and water are relatively below normal.
In the central regions, little to no rainfall was reported across most pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones of southern Mudug and Galgaduud during the May 21-31 period. Only Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Cabudwaaq, Caadado, and Dhusamareeb districts, parts of Addun Pastoral of Galkacyo and Hobyo districts, and parts of Cowpea Agropastoral of Ceel Dheer and Xarardheere districtsreceived localized, light showers. Due to the long dry spell during May, rangeland conditions are deteriorating in some areas, especially in Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing livelihood zone, parts of eastern Addun Pastoral livelihood zone, and most of Cowpea Agropastoral livelihood zone.
In the South, most livelihood zones in Hiiraan, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Middle Juba, Gedo, and Bay regions received little or no rainfall during the May 21-31 period. According to field reports, only very localized areas of Hiiraan, Bay, and Lower Juba received light rainfall. However, CHIRPS satellite imagery detected up to 10-25 mm of rainfall in large parts of Bay and Juba regions as well as in parts of Lower Shabelle. Rain gauge stations recorded 46 mm in Dinsor (Bay), 4.5 mm in Jamaame (Lower Juba), and 0 mm in Afgoye (Lower Shabelle), Baidoa (Bay), Beledweyne (Hiiraan), Xudur (Bakool), and Sakow (Middle Juba). Due to the long dry spell in most of the South in May, most crop-producing areas are experiencing severe crop moisture stress, which is likely to result in a poor gu harvest. Further, the suppression of rainfall in May is likely to lead to deterioration in rangeland conditions. In riverine areas, river water levels have significantly receded. Given a forecast of dry conditions through at least mid-June, there is no risk of further river flooding.
According to the satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the period of May 21-31, favorable vegetation conditions are observed in most of the Northwest and in localized areas of central and southern Somalia, mainly due to moderate to heavy rainfall earlier in the season. However, negative anomalies are widespread in the South and in parts of central and northeastern Somalia, which reflects poor rainfall performance since early May (Figure 3). The seven-day weather forecast from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center through June 10 indicates dry conditions will likely persist across Somalia, increasing the likelihood of gu crop losses in the South and atypical deterioration in pasture and water availability in southern, central, and northeastern Somalia (Figure 4). In addition, a forecast of low rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands during the same period is expected to lead to a significant decline in the water levels of the Shabelle and Juba rivers.
Formore rain gauge data, please contact So-Hydro@fao.orgor visit www.faoswalim.org.