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Recent precipitation alleviated cumulative deficits in some basins

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • April 21, 2023
Recent precipitation alleviated cumulative deficits in some basins

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • Below-average precipitation from October 1, 2022, to April 15, 2023, was observed throughout the country while near-average precipitation was observed in some central and northeastern parts of the country (Figure 1).

    • As of April 17, 2023, widespread below-average snow depth conditions were observed across the country. However average to above-average precipitation during late March and early April has led to above average snow depths in isolated locations of Ghor, Sari Pul, and Bamiyan provinces in the north-central part of the country (Figure 2).

    • As of April 16, 2023, a rise in the snow water volume levels in northern and southern basins was observed due to significant precipitation during mid-March and early April (Figure 3).

    • The ECMWF forecast for April 17 – 24, 2023, indicates above-average precipitation in the south  and below-average precipitation in the areas bordering Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan. During the week of April 24 – May 1, 2023, above-average precipitation is expected in the western, central, and southern parts of the country while there is a tilt toward average or below-average precipitation in the rest of the country. The forecast of average to above-average precipitation, especially in western parts of the country through May 1, bodes well for the cultivated crop areas and pastures in those areas (Figure 4).

    • From March through May 2023, below-average precipitation is most likely in the western, northwestern, northern, and northeastern parts of the country while near-average precipitation may be expected in isolated areas in the central, southern, and eastern parts of the country.

    • Above-average temperatures are expected in the north and west, while near-average temperatures are expected during May–July 2023 elsewhere along the border with Pakistan (Figure 5).
      According to the latest NOAA advisory, El Niño is expected to develop in May-July 2023 and persist into 2024. This favors above-average precipitation for the 2023-2024 wet season.

    Update on Seasonal Progress

    Current conditions

    According to information provided by key informants, well-distributed precipitation over mid- to higher elevations after mid-March has improved the condition of both rainfed and irrigated wheat in the country. Favorable conditions for rainfed wheat in the northern rainfed wheat belt and irrigated wheat in the central have been reported. Vegetation conditions are likely to improve, although may remain below average through September 2023 due to the lingering effects of three consecutive droughts since the 2020/21 wet season.


    Below-average precipitation (60-90% of average) prevails across most of the country while near-average precipitation conditions persist in rainfed wheat belt in central and northeastern parts of the country as of April 15 (Figure 1).

    Snow depth and snow water volume

    As of April 16, 2023, below-average snow depth  prevailed over most of the country (Figure 2). Precipitation observed from mid-March through early April has led to minor increases in SWV levels in many northern, western, and southern basins in the country. Figure 3 highlights rise in SWV levels after mid-March in Arghandab (south), Hari Rod (west), Kabul (east), and Kunduz (north) basins. Near minimum SWV is observed in Arghandab basin as of April 16, while Hari Rod, Kabul, and Kunduz basins still show below average conditions which have prevailed through much of the season (Figure 3).

    Figure 1

    Precipitation percent of average precipitation based on CHIRPS
    Map of precipitation percent of average in Afghanistan. Discussed in Key Messages.

    October 1, 2022 - April 15, 2023

    Source: UCSB CHC

    Figure 2

    Snow depth difference relative to the 2002-2021 average
    Map showing snow depth anomaly in Afghanistan on April 17, 2023. Discussed in Key Messages.

    As of April 17, 2023

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Figure 3

    Snow water volume as a function of time
    Four graphs showing snow water volume as a function of time in various locations. Discussed in Update on Seasonal Progress section.

    Arghandab (south), Hari Rod (west), Kunduz (north), and Kabul (east) basins as of April 16, 2023

    Source: USGS/NASA



    ECMWF forecasts above-average precipitation in southern and eastern parts of the country while the northern parts of the country bordering Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan are expected to receive below-average precipitation during the week April 17 – 24, 2023. There is no tilt towards above- or below average precipitation in the central portions of the country during this period (Figure 4, left inset). During the week April 24 – May 1, 2023, there is a high probability of above average precipitation in the western and southern parts of the country while average to slightly below-average precipitation in the northern, northeastern, and eastern parts of the country (Figure 4, right inset) are expected.

    Figure 4

    Weekly mean precipitation anomaly forecasts Made on April 10, 2023
    Two maps showing precipitation anomaly forecasts. Discussed in Forecast section.

    Source: ECMWF forecast system

    Figure 5

    North American Multi-Model Ensemble temperature forecast
    Map showing temperature forecast. Discussed in Forecast section.

    For May-July 2023 made in April 2023. Warm colors indicate the likelihood of temperature in the upper tercile, and cool colors indicate the likelihood of temperature in the lower tercile.

    Source: NOAA CPC


    The NMME forecast for May-July 2023 indicates above average temperature in most parts of the country except for isolated parts in the south. Crops are most likely to be subjected to moisture stress conditions due to the above average temperatures during this period. Precipitation during late March and April would be favorable to rainfed wheat in its flowering stage and pastures.  Below average snow melt runoff may most likely create reduced water availability for irrigated wheat (during its critical flowering and grain hardening stages). Areas impacted by two consecutive drought years are expected to experience the worst pasture conditions and largest negative anomalies relative to other areas of the country. Second crop cultivation may be adversely affected due to the ongoing hydrological drought conditions in the country. Chances of widespread flooding are less-than-normal while there may be chances of isolated flash flooding in spring depending on the extent of spring rainfall and temperature during the rest of the season.

    FEWS NET’s Seasonal Monitor reports are produced for Central America and the Caribbean, West Africa, East Africa, Central Asia, and Somalia every 10-to-30 days during the region’s respective rainy season(s). Seasonal Monitors report updates on weather events (e.g., rainfall patterns) and associated impacts on ground conditions (e.g., cropping conditions, pasture and water availability), as well as the short-term rainfall forecast. Find more remote sensing information here.

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