Skip to main content

Recent precipitation has improved snowpack and soil moisture conditions for spring planting

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • February 23, 2023
Recent precipitation has improved snowpack and soil moisture conditions for spring planting

Download the Report

  • KEY MESSAGES
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • FORECAST
  • Partner
    USGS

    KEY MESSAGES
    • Near average precipitation was observed in parts of the southwest, central, and northeast while the rest of the country received below-average precipitation from October 1, 2022, to February 15, 2023, as of the reporting date (Figure 1).
    • Below-average snow depth persists over higher elevations in the northeast and central parts of the country. Above-average snow depths are seen over lower elevations in western, central, and southern parts of the country as of February 17. Average to above average precipitation over northern Badakhshan since the beginning of February has resulted in above average snow depth there (Figure 2).
    • Near-normal snow water volumes are observed in the Bala Murghab_Kushk, Hari Rod, and Balkhab   basins, while below-average snow water volumes are seen in the remaining basins as of February 20, as exemplified by the Kabul_Indus basin (Figure 3).
    • The ECMWF precipitation forecast for February 20 to 27 indicates below-average precipitation across the country. During the following week, February 27 to March 6, ECMWF forecasts below-average precipitation along the areas bordering Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan while average precipitation is expected over the rest of the country during that week. Dry weather conditions during the third week of February may help the farmers start land preparation activities for spring wheat planting in March (Figure 4).
    • According to the latest NOAA advisory, ENSO neutral conditions are expected to begin within the next couple of months and persist through the spring and early summer. Cumulative precipitation from March to May is most likely to be average in most parts of the country.  Above average temperatures are expected from February–April 2023 (Figure 5).

    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

    Current conditions:

    According to details provided by key informants, well distributed precipitation in February has improved snowpack and soil moisture conditions across the country. It has been reported that farmers are taking advantage of favorable soil moisture conditions and have initiated land preparation at lower elevations for planting spring wheat in March.

    Precipitation:

    As of February 15, 2023, below- to near-average precipitation (60-90% of average) was widespread across most of the country while average precipitation conditions were observed in areas of the southwest, central, and northeast (Figure 1).

    Snow depth and snow water volume:

    Average to above-average snow depth persists over medium elevations in central and southern parts of the country. Above-average snow depth has accumulated over higher elevations in northern Badakhshan due to above average precipitation there since the beginning of February. On the other hand, below-average snow depth continues over higher elevations in the central, southern, and eastern parts of the country as of February 17 (Figure 2). Snow water volumes are at near-normal levels in the Bala Murghab_Kushk, Hari Rod, and Balkhab basins while they are below-average in remaining basins in the country. Snow water volumes levels in Kokcha_Ab-i-Rustaq, Khanabad, and Khulm are either close or at record minimum levels as of February 17. Figure 3 presents near-normal snow water volume levels in the Hari Rod, Bala Murghab_Kushk, and Balkhab basins, while it is below average in the Kabul_Indus basin as of February 20.  A map showing basin locations can be viewed here.


    FORECAST

    Precipitation: 

    Below-average precipitation has been forecast across the country during the week of February 20 – 27, 2023 (Figure 4, left inset). Further, there are chances of average precipitation over most parts of the country except below average precipitation along the areas bordering Iran, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, and Tajikistan, and along areas in Helmand, Zabul, and Paktika bordering Pakistan during the week of February 27 – March 6, 2023 (Figure 4, right inset). Forecast of dry weather during the third week of February may help the farmers in land preparation efforts for spring wheat planting next month.

    Temperatures:

    The NMME forecast for March-May 2023 indicates a high probability of above-average temperatures across the country. Persistent above-average temperatures in February will assist timely preparation of land for spring wheat cultivation. Above-average temperatures may lead to earlier than normal snowmelt runoff, thereby limiting water availability for crop use during spring and second season crop planting. Chances of widespread flooding are less-than-normal given the current low snow water volume levels and the anticipated below-normal precipitation in the coming months. On the other hand, there are chances of isolated flash flooding in spring depending on the extent of winter snow accumulation, spring rainfall, and temperature.
    Figures

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: UCSB/CHC

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/EROS

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/NASA

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

    Source: ECMWF

    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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top