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Rainfall remains above average in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and southern Kenya

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • East Africa
  • February 10, 2016
Rainfall remains above average in Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania and southern Kenya

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Partner
    USGS
    Key Messages
    • January rainfall has remained above average for much of Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and neighbouring districts in southern Kenya, due to the on-going moderate to heavy rains (Figure 1), which can be attributed in part to the ongoing strong El Niño event. Above-average rainfall is expected to continue in the coming one to two weeks. 

    • In northeastern Amhara and Tigray in Ethiopia, sporadic and unseasonal light to moderate rains since December triggered early planting of short-cycle crops and helped to replenish water points and pasture for livestock.

    • Rainfall remained poorly distributed in January following a delayed onset in October over parts of marginal agricultural areas of southeastern lowlands of Kenya, southern coastal areas of Somalia, and northeastern Tanzania, resulting in significant crop moisture stress which is expected to result in reduced yields in these areas. 


    Seasonal Progress

    January rainfall has remained above average for much of Rwanda, Burundi, Tanzania, and neighbouring districts in southern Kenya, due to the on-going moderate to heavy rains (Figure 1), which can be attributed in part to the ongoing strong El Niño event. However, the rest of the region has remained dry and hot, as is normal in January, which is expected to be favorable for harvesting maize in key producing areas of western and central Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, and Burundi.

    In parts of northeastern Amhara and Tigray, unseasonal light to moderate rains continued in January, which encouraged early planting of short-cycle crops coupled with improved pasture, browse, and surface water conditions in these areas. However, pastoral areas of northern Ethiopia, Djibouti, and northern Somalia have remained generally dry, with deteriorating rangeland resources due to the ongoing El Niño-induced severe drought, exacerbated by hotter-than-average land surface temperatures.

    Meanwhile, rangeland resources (both pasture and water resources) have above average for this time of year in central Somalia, Kenya, Uganda, parts of southern Ethiopia, and parts of northern and southern Tanzania, with above-average vegetation depicted in Figure 2. 

    Meanwhile, pastoral areas in Sudan, South Sudan, Djibouti, and northern Somalia, are seasonally dry. However, they are expansive areas of drier-than-average vegetation condition in northeastern Ethiopia and parts of the Rift Valley, southern Somalia, northeastern and southeastern Kenya, and northeastern and central Tanzania, in response to below-average rains in the recent past months. The dry and hot season is expected to continue for much of these areas, until the onset of the Belg and Long-rains seasons in the next one to two months.

    Rapid assessments reports in Kenya by FEWS NET and partners are suggesting slightly above-average maize production in Kenya, with expected below-average maize yields prospects in marginal southeastern lowlands and parts of the coastal regions, due to shortened length of growing period, coupled with poor rainfall distribution and amounts. Similary, for the coastal strip of southern Somalia and parts of extreme northeastern Tanzania, where the current crop conditions are in stressed levels and are expected to result in reduced yield.


    Forecast

    The short-term rainfall forecasts for the next two weeks (NOAA/GFS) indicate a continuation of above-average (moderate to heavy) rains for much of Tanzania, parts of southern Kenya, and, western Burundi (Figure 3). The rest of the East Africa region is expected to be seasonally dry, due to the establishment of the rain-belt in Tanzania and Southern Africa countries. However, continued above-average rains southern Tanzania and the forecast heavy rains in southern coastal areas of Tanzania, there is an increased risk of flooding in these regions.

    Figures Figure 1. ARC2 RFE Anomaly, January 1- 31, 2016

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. ARC2 RFE Anomaly, January 1- 31, 2016

    Source: NOAA/NWS/CPC

    Figure 2. eMODIS/NDVI Anomaly, January 16-25, 2016

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. eMODIS/NDVI Anomaly, January 16-25, 2016

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3. GFS Rainfall Weekly Forecast (mm), valid up to February 16, 2016

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. GFS Rainfall Weekly Forecast (mm), valid up to February 16, 2016

    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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