Seasonal Monitor

Above average precipitation in April and early May increases water availability for crops and pastures

May 14, 2020

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

  • Cumulative precipitation from October 1, 2019, to May 10, 2020, is near or above normal across the country except in the Badakhshan province where it is 85 percent of normal.

  • Below average snow depths persist at higher elevations in the eastern and northeastern parts of the country. Snowmelt is in the concluding stages of their seasonal cycles in most basins across the country except in the Khulm, Shirin Taghab, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, and Panj basins where snow water volumes continue to be close to or at record minimum levels (2002-2016).

  • The harvest of the first crop has already begun in parts of eastern provinces. The above average precipitation during late April and early May led to development of rust disease in senescent wheat in certain areas in eastern Afghanistan. The forecast of above average precipitation conditions until the end of May will favor satisfactory planting of second season crops in the country.

  • The risk of flash flooding remains high in the eastern and northeastern basins in view of the forecast of above average temperatures and widespread heavy precipitation in the Baghlan, Samangan, Takhar, Kabul, and Laghman provinces. The risk of landslides also remains high in the northeastern parts of the country.

UPDATE ON SEASONAL PROGRESS

Precipitation anomalies:

As of May 10, cumulative precipitation is near or above normal across the country except in the Badakhshan province where it is 85 percent of normal. Despite being close to normal at the province level, deficit precipitation is observed in some localized areas in the Faryab, Jawzjan, Balkh, and Kunduz provinces (Figure 1). Reports indicate that the senescent wheat crop in certain areas in eastern Afghanistan has been affected by rust disease due to excess rains in late April and early May. The above average precipitation from late March through the first week of May has caused flooding damage in parts of Badghis, Faryab, Ghor, Baghlan, Takhar, Badakhshan, Samangan, Kunar, and Parwan provinces.

Snow depth and snow water volume:

As of May 12, below average snow depths continue at higher elevations of northeastern and eastern parts of the country (Figure 2). Above average temperatures during April have led to snowmelt at lower elevations in the eastern, central, and southern parts of the country. Snowmelt is in the concluding stages of their seasonal cycles in most basins except in the Kunduz, Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, Panj, and Kabul basins which are in the middle of their annual cycles.

The above average temperatures from February through mid-March have led to continuous snowmelt during this period in Shirin Taghab, Sari Pul, and Khulm basins. As a result the snow water volume curves are concluding three to four weeks earlier than normal. Although above average temperatures also affected the snow water volume in the Farah_Adraskan, Khash_Khuspas, Hari Rod, Bala Murghab_Kushk, Balkhab, Kunduz, Shamal, and Ghazni basins, the above average precipitation from mid-March through the end of April led to late season accumulation in these basins. As a result the snow water volume levels are concluding or expected to conclude as normal. Lastly, the snow water volumes in the Arghandab and Helmand basins that had been shown above average from March to April are currently indicating slightly later than normal conclusion of their seasonal cycle. The snow water volumes in the Khanabad, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, Panj, and Kabul basins are at record minimum levels as of May 12 (Figure 3).

FORECAST

Precipitation:

The Global Forecast System 7-day total precipitation forecast for the week ending May 19 indicates 30 to 80 mm of heavy precipitation in eastern, northeastern, and central Afghanistan (Figure 4). Dry weather is expected across the country except for heavy precipitation up to 60 mm in the eastern and central Afghanistan in the following week ending May 26.

Harvest of the first crop has begun in parts of eastern Afghanistan. The forecast of above average precipitation until the third week of May indicates increased water availability for the second crop during its emergence/early vegetative stages during June-July. However, water availability for crop growth between July and September may be affected. The forecast of above average precipitation in the next two weeks may cause more damage to standing crops that are being harvested particularly in eastern Afghanistan.

Due to the forecast of heavy precipitation over the northeastern parts of the country which already received above average precipitation, there is an enhanced risk of flash flooding in the Balkhab, Khulm, Kunduz, Kokcha-Ab_i_Rustaq, Panj, and Kabul basins in the coming two weeks. The somewhat frequent rain events also increase the risk of landslides in the vulnerable areas of eastern and northeastern Afghanistan. 

Temperatures:                                                

The North American Multi-Model Ensemble forecast for June-August indicates a relatively high probability of above average temperatures in the northern half of the country (Figure 5). The forecast of above average temperatures from June to August is likely to provide extra heat energy essential for the healthy growth of the second crop during this period. The forecast of above average temperatures may also increase the evaporative demands, which might not be met especially in the northern parts of the county where seasonal cumulative water storages from rain and snowmelt are well below normal. 

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