Seasonal Monitor

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

March 31, 2021

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Would likely be at least one phase worse without current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET classification is IPC-compatible. IPC-compatible analysis follows key IPC protocols but does not necessarily reflect the consensus of national food security partners.
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.

IPC v3.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Remote monitoring
countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3+: Crisis or higher
Would likely be at least one phase worse without
current or programmed humanitarian assistance
FEWS NET Remote Monitoring countries use a colored outline to represent the highest IPC classification in areas of concern.
Partners: 
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.

About this Report

The seasonal monitor, produced by the FEWS NET USGS regional scientist and FEWS NET Regional Technical Manager, updates rainfall totals, the impact on production, and the short-term forecast. It is produced every 20 days during the production season. Find more remote sensing information here.

 

About FEWS NET

The Famine Early Warning Systems Network is a leading provider of early warning and analysis on food insecurity. Created by USAID in 1985 to help decision-makers plan for humanitarian crises, FEWS NET provides evidence-based analysis on approximately 30 countries. Implementing team members include NASA, NOAA, USDA, USGS, and CHC-UCSB, along with Chemonics International Inc. and Kimetrica.
Learn more About Us.

Link to United States Agency for International Development (USAID)Link to the United States Geological Survey's (USGS) FEWS NET Data PortalLink to U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA)
Link to National Aeronautics and Space Administration's (NASA) Earth ObservatoryLink to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's (NOAA) National Weather Service, Climage Prediction CenterLink to the Climate Hazards Center - UC Santa BarbaraLink to KimetricaLink to Chemonics