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The onset of October to December rains in eastern Kenya and southernmost Somalia was delayed

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • East Africa
  • November 23, 2013
The onset of October to December rains in eastern Kenya and southernmost Somalia was delayed

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  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Key Messages
    • The October to December Deyr/short rains started late in much of eastern Kenya and southern Somalia. The rains were up to 20 days late in some areas.

    • The risk of flooding remains high along both the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in southern Somalia.


    Seasonal Progress

    Overall, from October 1 to 30, below average total rainfall fell in parts of South Sudan, western Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, western Tanzania, Kenya, and southern Somalia (Figure 1). However, much of Ethiopia continued to receive seasonally normal or above normal amounts of rainfall as the rainbelt shifted south, marking the gradual onset of the October to December Deyr/Hageya rainy season in southern Ethiopia and parts of northern Somalia. Despite, the timely progression of the rainbelt to southern Ethiopia, the October to December rains did not start and get established over much of the eastern Horn of Africa in October, especially in southern and central Somalia and northern, central, and southeastern Kenya where rainfall was only erratic and light.

    The June to September rainfall season was mixed in terms of its performance over western Kenya. There was a long dry spell in May/June, and some delayed access to farm inputs contributed to late planting in some areas. However, the long rains season maize harvest started in August and is continuing in western areas and central districts in the Rift Valley. Late planting and some reduced use of inputs decreasing yields are likely to reduce yields and may contribute to what is likely to be a below average long rains maize harvest.

    June to September rains were well below average in eastern Sudan and western Eritrea, with the season starting very late and rainfall totals never recovering. Overall, agricultural production in Sudan is expected to be below average, due to the delayed onset of the June to September rains and below usual area planted in surplus-producing areas. Many crops reached the maturity stage late, delaying the harvest in some areas.

    Similarly, a delay of the June to September Kiremt rains in June/July in northwestern Ethiopia, led to the planting of short-cycle sorghum varieties, which have lower yields in the Northwest. This is expected to lead to Ethiopia’s sorghum crop being below average, but overall, most Kiremt-receiving areas had average to above average rains and are expecting near average to above average Meher crop production during the October to January harvests.

    Following a brief start of season in early October there were up to three dry weeks in October in eastern Rwanda, many planted season A crops in Rwanda did not germinate or failed. However, replanting for season A occurred, and it is mostly completed in the East.

    Generated by the e-MODIS satellite, the Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows several areas  had below average rangeland or crop conditions in late October, probably in response to below average performance of recent seasons (Figure 2). Cropping areas with below average vegetation conditions included eastern Sudan, southwestern Eritrea, central South Sudan, southern Uganda, and cropping areas around the Lake Victoria basin in Kenya and Tanzania. There also appear to be extensive areas of drier than seasonally normal vegetation conditions over large portions of the rangelands of the eastern Horn of Africa, along with some marginal cropping and agropastoral areas there. Above average vegetation conditions were observed in the Great Rift Valley in Kenya and Ethiopia, probably due to the recent above average rains and vegetation regeneration.

    Rangeland resources, pasture and water resources were generally normal to above average for much of the northern sector of the region in Sudan, South Sudan, and Ethiopia. In the eastern Horn, conditions have generally deteriorated and are well below average for southern Somalia, parts of eastern and northern Kenya, and northeastern Tanzania in late October. For the rest of the region, rangeland conditions were generally near normal in response to normal to above average seasonal rainfall performance for both the March to May long rains and the June to September Kiremt rainy season.


    Forecast
    • The short-term forecasts for the next two weeks indicate that the October to December rains are expected to continue across the much of the equatorial sector of the region, including in Uganda, central and southeastern Kenya, Somalia, and northern Tanzania (Figure 3).
    • Despite more seasonally normal rainfall in much of the eastern Horn in November, there was an almost 20 day delay in the onset of the rains. With a normal ending of the October to December rains expected, there will likely be a reduced length of the rainy season in much of the eastern Horn.
    •  Flooding risks remain along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in southern Somalia and near Lake Victoria in Kenya with moderate to heavy rains still possible in these catchments.
    Figures Figure 1. Rainfall (RFE2) anomalies in millimeters (mm) from 1983 to 2012 mean, October 1 to 30, 2013

    Figure 1

    Figure 1. Rainfall (RFE2) anomalies in millimeters (mm) from 1983 to 2012 mean, October 1 to 30, 2013

    Source: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)/National Weather Service…

    Figure 2. eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a percent of 10-year average, October 21 -31, 2013

    Figure 2

    Figure 2. eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) as a percent of 10-year average, October 21 -31, 2013

    Source: U.S. Geological Survey (USGS)/FEWS NET

    Figure 3. Global Forecast System (GFS) precipitation forecast in mm, November 24 to 30, 2013

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. Global Forecast System (GFS) precipitation forecast in mm, November 24 to 30, 2013

    Source: NOAA/NWS/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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