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Despite recent precipitation, deficits persist in northern areas with favorable conditions in the rest of the country

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • February 20, 2020
Despite recent precipitation, deficits persist in northern areas with favorable conditions in the rest of the country

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  • Key Messages
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • Cumulative precipitation for October 2019 to mid-February 2020 is above average across much of the country; however, below average precipitation has been observed in northern areas bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan with deficits as large as 70 percent of normal. Temperatures were above average across the country except in the central and eastern areas where temperatures were average to below average.

    • Well distributed precipitation from January through February 10 has maintained above average levels of snow water volume in southern Afghanistan basins. However below average snow water levels persist in Sari Pul, Balkhab, Khulm, Kunduz, and Panj basins, with record minimum levels in Khanabad and Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq basins in northern Afghanistan.

    • Favorable precipitation and soil moisture conditions in southern Afghanistan are expected to support normal spring wheat planting. On the other hand, the persistence of precipitation deficits and abnormal dryness in areas adjacent to Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan is a cause for concern as they will not only affect the spring wheat planting but also crop and pastoral growth during the main growing season.

    • The central, eastern, southern, and western basins of Afghanistan which received above average precipitation are under watch for flash floods in view of forecasted above average temperatures during April through May. 


    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

    Precipitation anomalies:

    Below average cumulative precipitation anomalies persist in areas bordering Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan in Balkh, Jawzjan, Kunduz, and Takhar provinces for the October 1, 2019 through February 10, 2020 period. Above average cumulative precipitation conditions continued in the rest of the country during the same period (Figure 1).

    Snow depth and snow water volume:

    Continued heavy precipitation through February 10 has sustained above average snow depths at middle and lower elevations in the eastern, central, southern, southwestern and western basins of the country. However below average snow depth anomalies persisted at higher elevations in the Sari Pul, Balkhab, Khulm, Kunduz, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq and Panj basins bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan and Tajikistan (Figure 2). The snow water volumes in the above basins are at below average levels; the current levels in Khanabad and Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq basins are at record minimum. Figure 3 highlights record maximum snow water volume in the Arghandab basin; average in Hari Rod basin; below average in Balkhab basin and at record minimum level in Khanabad basin.

    FORECAST

    Precipitation: 

    According to the Global Forecast System 7-day, dry weather is expected during the week ending February 24. However, 20-80 mm of widespread precipitation is expected across the country except in the southwestern Afghanistan in the following week ending March 2 (Figure 4). The forecasted heavy precipitation in the last week of February may help reduce the precipitation deficits persisting in northern Afghanistan.     

    In general, the above average precipitation conditions in southern parts of the country will provide favourable soil moisture conditions for normal crop and pasture growth during spring and summer months. However, the persistent precipitation deficits in Sari Pul, Balkhab, Khulm, Kunduz, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq and Panj basins in the north need to be watched for their impacts on crops and pastures in the coming months.  

    Temperatures:

    The North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecast for March to May indicates a relatively high probability of above average temperatures across the country (Figure 5). The forecast of persistent above average temperature and average precipitation conditions will support healthy germination and rapid vegetative growth of wheat and pastures in southern parts of the country. On the other hand, above average temperatures combined with precipitation deficits do not bode well for crops and pastures in the northern parts of the country in the coming months. The central, eastern, southern and southwestern basins are also being watched for flood incidence in view of the current and forecast precipitation and temperature conditions.

     

    Figures Cumulative precipitation for October 2019 to mid-February 2020 is above average across much of the country; however, below av

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    below average snow depth anomalies persisted at higher elevations in the Sari Pul, Balkhab, Khulm, Kunduz, Khanabad, Kokcha-A

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 5

    Figure 5

    Source: NOAA CPC

    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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