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Below-average precipitation and snow water volumes persist over much of the country while above-average precipitation is observed in the East and South

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • February 24, 2022
Below-average precipitation and snow water volumes persist over much of the country while above-average precipitation is observed in the East and South

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  • Key Messages
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    Key Messages
    • Above-average cumulative precipitation anomalies for October 1, 2021, to February 20, 2022, were observed in the eastern and southern parts of the country. Below-average cumulative precipitation was observed in southwestern, northern, central highlands, and northeastern parts of the country (Figure 1).
    • As of February 22, negative snow water equivalent differences persist in the northeastern and central basins of the country. However, positive snow water equivalent differences were observed in central highlands and western basins of the country (Figure 2). Below-average snow water volumes persist in the remaining basins of the country. Figure 3 depicts select snow water volume charts.
    • Based on forecasts from the European Centre for Medium-Range Weather Forecasts (ECMWF), below-average precipitation is most likely during the next two weeks (Figure 4).
    • Below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures (Figure 5) are most likely through May 2022, given the ongoing La Niña. There is a low risk of landslides and flash floods during March – May 2022. Although above-average temperatures may aid in quick vegetative growth of irrigated wheat, they may also lead to crop stress later during the critical flowering season in April and May.


    Current conditions:

    Meteorological and hydrological droughts persist in the northern and northeastern parts of the country and low streamflow conditions are prevalent in the country. Nevertheless, field reports indicate that the previous month’s precipitation across the country has improved soil moisture conditions, prompting farmers in the lower elevations to begin land preparations for planting of spring wheat.

    Precipitation anomalies:

    Eastern, central, southern, and western parts of the country received above-average precipitation from mid-December to mid-January due to the Madden-Julian Oscillation. As of February 20, below-average cumulative precipitation (70-85 percent of average) was observed in the central highlands while more severe deficits (55-70 percent of average) persisted in the areas bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan (Figure 1).

    Snowpack and snow water volume:

    Consistent precipitation from the first week of January through the second week of February has led to above-average snow water volumes in the northwestern, western, and southern basins of the country. Currently, snow water volumes in Balkhab, Sari Pul, Shirin Taghab, Bala-Murghab Kushk, Hari Rod, Farah-Adraskan, Khash-Khuspas, and Helmand basins are near or above average. However, snow water volumes in Khulm, Kunduz, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab-I-Rustaq, Panj, Kabul, Ghazni, Shamal, and Arghandab basins are below average (Figure 3).



    Based on ECMWF forecasts, average to below-average precipitation is generally most likely in the country from 28 February - 07 March 2022 and from 07 - 14 March 2022. The exception is for above-average precipitation in the northeastern and north central parts of the country during the week 28 February – 07 March 2022. Precipitation during the remainder of the wintertime wet season is expected to be below average, given the forecast persistence of La Niña and subsequent impacts (Figure 5).


    The North American Multi-Model Ensemble temperature forecast for April – June 2022 indicates a high probability of above average temperatures across the country during the forecast period (Figure 5).

    Current field reports indicate average to below-average temperatures across the country, absence of early snowmelt, and low streamflow conditions in the country. However, forecast of persistent above-average temperatures may initiate flash floods and landslides during the coming months. Furthermore, the above-average temperatures may also lead to moisture stress in crops during the latter part of spring.

    Figures This is a map of Afghanistan showing precipitation levels.

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    This is a map of Afghanistan that shows daily snow water equivalent difference from the 2002-2016 average in mm.

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/EROS

    These are four graphs showing the daily progression of snow water volume in Arghandab, Hari Rod, Kabul, and Kunduz basins.

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/NASA

    This map of Afghanistan shows the precipitation forecast from February 28 – 07 March, 2022, and (right) 07 – 14 March,  2022.

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

    Source: ECMWF

    This map shows the temperature forecast for April – June 2022 which indicates a high probability of above average temperature

    Figure 5

    Figure 5


    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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