Seasonal Monitor

Above-average rains remain favorable to cropping in northern areas, but flooding risks remain

August 19, 2016

IPC 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
Not mapped
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 2.0 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 2.0 Acute Food Insecurity Phase

Presence countries:
1: Minimal
2: Stressed
3: Crisis
4: Emergency
5: Famine
National Parks/Reserves
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
Not mapped
Concentration of displaced people – hover over maps to view food security phase classifications for camps in Somalia, Sudan, and Uganda.
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.
Partners: 
USGS

Key Messages

  • Total rainfall since mid-July has been above average in most northern areas of East Africa, including most of Sudan, western and northern Ethiopia, South Sudan, Djibouti, and Yemen, and is contributing to mostly favorable cropping and rangeland conditions. 

  • Despite favorable cropping prospects due to above-average rainfall in many areas, excessive rainfall has led to reports of flooding in parts of Sudan, Ethiopia, and South Sudan. In worst-affected areas, flooding has displaced households, damaged infrastructure, and damaged crops. 

  • However, rainfall since mid-July has been below average in southeastern South Sudan, and parts of southwestern and northeastern Ethiopia. In northeastern Uganda, rainfall has been erratically distributed and slightly below average, with crop prospects remaining poor following a long dry spell in May and early June. 

  • Based on short-term forecasts, heavy rainfall is expected to continue over the western Ethiopian highlands, Sudan, and South Sudan, which further increases the risk of flooding, particularly along the Gash River Basin in Ethiopia and eastern Sudan. Potential La Niña conditions by September could increase rainfall over northern parts of the region. 

Seasonal Progress

During the past 30 days, rainfall has remained near or above average over most northern areas of East Africa, including most of Sudan, South Sudan,  northern and western Ethiopia, northern Somalia, Djibouti, and Yemen. Meanwhile, rainfall has been below average in southeastern South Sudan, and southwestern and northeastern Ethiopia (Figure 1).

eMODIS/NDVI suggests vegetation conditions are currently above average in Ethiopia, South Sudan, parts of Sudan, Karamoja in Uganda, Rift Valley regions of Kenya, and southeastern and central Tanzania (Figure 2). Despite these indications, field reports suggest cropping prospects are slightly below normal in Karamoja in Uganda, due to long dry spells earlier in the year. Available field reports, together with remotely sensed observations and crop model ouputs confirm favorable cropping conditions in the rest of these areas. Meanwhile, vegetation conditions have continued to deteriorate along the East Africa coastal strip, due to its poor long-rain seasons, coupled with well above-normal land surface temperatures, negatively impacting rangeland resources (water and pasture) and cropping conditions.

The following is a country-by-country of recent seasonal progress to date:

  • In South Sudan, main season (June to September) rainfall since mid-July has been been average to above average throughout most northern unimodal areas. Flooding has been reported in Jonglei, Unity, and Lakes States, destroying hundreds of homes and inundating crops. In the bimodal Equatoria states, the second (August to November) rainy season has been near normal in most areas, although rainfall has been below average in parts of Western and Eastern Equatoria.
  • In Ethiopia, Kiremt (June to September) seasonal rainfall has remained above average between mid-July and mid-August, further contributing to generally favorable cropping prospects across many of the highly productive agricultural areas in the central and western highlands. In many areas, total seasonal rainfall to date is between 120 and 150 percent of average. However, excessive rainfall is also leading to an increased risk of flooding in flood-prone areas. In SNNPR and eastern Oromia, rainfall deficits of 10 to 50 mm over the past 30 days have contributed to seasonal rainfall deficits reaching nearly 100 mm. Particularly in SNNPR, rainfall deficits are reportedly leading to limited regeneration of pasture.
  • In northernwestern Somalia, northeastern Ethiopia, and Djibouti, Karan/Karma (June to September) rainfall since mid-July has been near to above average, leading to regeneration of pasture and improvements in water availability for livestock. In Yemen, rainfall since mid-July has been above average, which has led to above-average vegetation conditions. While favorable for crop growth and regeneration of pastoral resources, above-average rainfall is also leading to favorable conditions for locust reproduction, which could lead to damage to crops in localized areas.In Sudan, main season (June to September) rainfall has been above average since mid-July in most agricultural, agropastoral, and pastoral areas. As in western Ethiopia, these persistently above-average rains are likely to result in floods in flood-prone areas, as the Nile and Al Gash River levels are abnormally high at this time of the year. Flooding has already reportedly displaced households and damaged infrastructure in several states, including South Darfur, Blue Nile, Kassala, Khartoum, and White Nile.
  • In most areas of Somalia, the dry season is ongoing. The coastal Xagaa rains have been largely below average. As a result of this and previously below-average Gu (March to May) rainfall, Gu crop production in most southern and central regions is expected to be below average.
  • In parts of the western and Rift Valley regions of Kenya, the resumption of the long rains in late June through mid-August helped with crop recovery after the prolonged dry spell in May and June. However, crop yields are still expected to be reduced due to the previous moisture stress and wilting. Rangeland conditions in northern and southeastern Kenya have continued to rapidly deteriorate, worsened by above-normal land surface temperatures.
  • In Uganda, rainfall was erratically distributed and slightly below average in unimodal Karamoja between mid-July and mid-August, with crop production prospects remaining below normal due to a prolonged dry spell in May and early June. 

 

Forecast

The short-term NOAA/GFS rainfall forecast (Figure 3) through September 1, 2016 suggests heavy rainfall will continue across western and central Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and South Sudan. This is often the peak period of the June to September seasonal rains in the northern areas of East Africa. Widespread moderate to locally very heavy rainfall are also likely to occur in the coming weeks in western and Rift Valley regions of Kenya and northern Uganda, with increased likelihood for flooding in areas surrounding the Mt. Elgon region of Uganda.

Meanwhile, the Eastern Horn and much of Tanzania, Rwanda and Burundi are expected to be normally sunny and dry, but with the highlands remaining relatively cool with light rains. Light to moderate rains are also forecast along the coastal strip of Kenya and northeastern Tanzania, including northern coastal areas of Somalia. In bimodal Uganda, two-week rainfall forecasts and seasonal forecasts for near average rainfall suggest the second (mid-August to November) seasonal rains will begin on time and be near-average in terms of quantity.

There is increased likelihood for mild La Niña conditions in August and September, which could lead to wetter conditions over northern areas of the region, especially in western and central Ethiopia, Sudan, and South Sudan. The consensus seasonal rainfall outlook, for October to December is expected to be released by end of this month. For updates, see www.icpac.net.

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