Above-average rains continue across most of South Sudan
Moderate to heavy rains continued in most parts of South Sudan in the second dekad of May. An estimated 50 to 150 millimeters (mm) of rain fell in the western part of the country (Figure 1). Most parts of the country continued to receive well above-normal rains, with the exception of the southeast (Figure 9). Drier conditions persist in the southeast, with only 10 to 25 mm of rain between May 11- 20, 2014.
Following good rains during the start of the season, land preparation and planting were reported in many parts of South Sudan. In Payinjiar County, Unity State, some households that had seed stocks or who were able to purchase seeds locally began planting in early to mid-May. Some planting has begun in Ayod, Bor, Akobo East and to a lesser extent, Twic East in Jonglei State. Field reports suggest that some internally displace persons (IDPs) in Minkaman IDP settlement have returned to Bor to prepare land following seed distributions of maize, sorghum and groundnuts. Land preparation and planting are ongoing in Maban, Malakal, Akoka and Fashoda counties in Upper Nile.
Poor rains persisted in Kapoeta through mid-May. Some farmers started land preparation but planting has not yet begun because rains have not been sufficient to support germination. In this area, rains typically start in April, promoting improvement of pasture and water around homesteads. However, atypical dryness and the delayed onset of rains in some areas to further delay livestock return from dry season grazing areas.
The Global Forecast System (GFS) precipitation forecast indicates intensifying rains across most of South Sudan for the rest of May. Comparatively less rain is expected in Upper Nile State and the Northwest and Southeast of the country. Between 20 and 30 mm of rain are forecast for these areas. (Figure 12).
Long-term forecasts suggest normal to above-normal rains from June to September in the central and southwestern areas of the country and normal to below-normal rains in the North and East of the country.