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Precipitation in March improves water availability except in the south and southwest

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Afghanistan
  • March 31, 2021
Precipitation in March improves water availability except in the south and southwest

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  • Key Messages
  • UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS
  • FORECAST
  • Partner
    USGS

    Key Messages
    • Well-distributed precipitation from mid-February to March reduced precipitation deficits in northeastern, northern, central, and eastern parts of the country. Significant precipitation deficits persist in southern and southwestern parts of the country as of March 25.
    • Positive snow depth anomalies are observed in some of the mid to higher elevations of northeastern, eastern, and central parts of the country. Snow depths at most higher elevations continue to be well below normal.
    • Some improvement in snow water volume levels is observed in northern, northeastern, and central basins. Southern and southwestern basins continue to exhibit near record minimum snow water volumes as of March 29.
    • Precipitation from mid-February to March has contributed to favorable soil moisture conditions for spring wheat planting. However, uninterrupted spring precipitation is delaying spring wheat cultivation in some areas, especially in parts of Badakhshan province. The condition of winter wheat is generally reported to be normal, except in southern, southwestern, and western parts of the country where it is below normal.
    • Below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures are expected from April to June 2021 due to the prevailing La Niña conditions.
    • As a result of below-average precipitation, the risk of flooding and landslides during spring months is expected to be lower than usual. However, flash flooding is still possible due to storms in the coming months.

    UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

    Precipitation anomalies:

    Well-distributed precipitation from mid-February to March eased the deficits in cumulative precipitation (October 1, 2020, to March 25, 2021) in the northern, northeastern, eastern, and central parts of the country (Figure 1). The situation also improved in many southern and southwestern parts of the country, though cumulative precipitation at the province level remains below normal by as much as 45 percent in southern and southwestern provinces, and by 60 percent in the southwestern Nimroz province where deficits continue to worsen.

    Snow depth and snow water volume:

    As of March 29, positive snow depth anomalies are observed in mid to higher elevations of the central, northern, and northeastern regions, while snow depths at higher elevations continue to be well below normal (Figure 2). Overall, snow depth has not improved as much as cumulative precipitation, due to the prevailing above-average temperatures. Similarly, snow water volumes (SWV) have marginally improved across various basins where precipitation was received in March, though noticeable improvements in SWV have been observed in northern parts of the country. On the other hand, SWV levels remain at record minimum levels in southern and southwestern parts of the country. Although below normal, the improvement in the SWV portends well for irrigated wheat which will reach critical flowering stages later in April.

    Figure 3 highlights the SWV in Arghandab, Hari Rod, Kabul, and Kunduz basins as of March 29. In Arghandab basin, SWV continues to be at record minimum levels; SWV is around 41 percent of normal in Hari Rod basin; SWV is 86 percent of normal in Kabul basin; and SWV is 72 percent of normal in Kunduz basin. 


    FORECAST

    Precipitation: 

    The Global Forecast System (GFS) forecast for total precipitation in the week ending April 6 indicates that 30 to 80 mm of precipitation is expected over some higher elevations of northeastern and eastern parts of the country; and up to 30 mm of precipitation is expected over mid-elevations of northeastern, eastern, and central parts of the country (Figure 4). Dry weather conditions are expected in rest of the country.

    During the following week, ending April 13, up to 80 mm of precipitation is expected over higher elevations of the eastern and northeastern parts of the country, while dry weather is forecast in the rest of the country.

    While precipitation received during the reporting period to date has been generally beneficial for winter wheat, (except in the southern and southwestern parts of the country), normal planting of spring wheat has been slightly delayed due to excessive wetness of soils in part of the northern and northeastern spring wheat cultivation belt. However, the pace of spring wheat planting is expected to increase due to the anticipated dry weather forecast for much of the country (except in the northeastern and central parts of the country) in coming weeks.

    Temperatures:

    The North American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) forecast with March initial conditions indicates high probability of above-average temperatures across the country in the April to June period (Figure 5).

    The health of winter wheat — especially in the southern and southwestern parts of the country — remains highly vulnerable to temperature and moisture stresses. Further, rainfed crop production and rangeland vegetation conditions are likely to be affected by the forecast below-average precipitation and above-average temperatures anticipated during the April to June period.

    Figures This is a map of Afghanistan showing that below-average precipitation has been received across much of the country, and less

    Figure 1

    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/UCSB

    This is a map of Afghanistan showing that below average snow depth has been recorded in most highland areas, though with some

    Figure 2

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/NASA

    These are four graphs showing the daily progression of snow water volume in Arghandab, Hari Rod, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq and Kundu

    Figure 3

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/NASA

    These are maps of Afghanistan showing green and blue colors across some northeastern parts of the country, indicating precipi

    Figure 4

    Figure 4

    Source: NOAA CPC

    This map of Afghanistan shows orange and red colors covering all of the country, indicating elevated probability for above av

    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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