Skip to main content

Above-average rainfall improves deficits in Uganda, DRC, and parts of South Sudan

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • East Africa
  • October 14, 2016
Above-average rainfall improves deficits in Uganda, DRC, and parts of South Sudan

Download the Report

  • Key Messages
  • Seasonal Progress
  • Forecast
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • Since mid-September, Uganda, eastern DRC, and southeastern South Sudan received above normal rainfall amounts, which helped ease prolonged dryness. 

    • In central and southern Ethiopia, particularly in SNNPR and central and eastern Oromia, below-average seasonal rains have persisted. This has resulted in poor cropping conditions in these areas.

    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) has shifted southward faster than normal over East Africa. This has led to a slightly early to timely start of the October to December rainy season in DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and bimodal areas of Uganda. 

    Seasonal Progress

    Persistent above-average seasonal rains continued over Sudan, western Ethiopia, western Eritrea, and eastern and western South Sudan. In Uganda and eastern DRC, average to above-average rainfall helped ease prolonged soil moisture deficits that had adversely affected cropping conditions earlier in the season. However, parts of  southern and central Ethiopia, northern Somalia, and central South Sudan experienced below-average rainfall amounts in the past month (Figure 1).

    The ongoing seasonal rains have had mixed impacts on vegetation conditions across the region, as depicted by the eMODIS/NDVI anomaly (Figure 2). Vegetation conditions are above average in much of Sudan, Eritrea, northern Ethiopia and western South Sudan in response to above-average rainfall in the past month. According to FEWS NET crop model outputs, average to slightly above-average yield prospects are likely in these areas, with the exception of Oromia and SNNPR of Ethiopia, where persistent below-average rainfall has negatively impacted crop production, and South Sudan, where conflict is disrupting agricultural activities.  

    Vegetation conditions remain below average along the coastal strip of Kenya, southern Somalia, and parts of northeastern Tanzania, due to the poor performance of the March to May Gu/long rains season and hotter-than-normal land surface temperatures. This has resulted in a rapid deterioration of pasture and water resources and poor cropping conditions in these regions. The October to December Deyr/short rains, while expected to be slightly below average, are still likely to improve these drier-than-normal conditions.

    Increased rainfall in the western sector of the region is attributed to the southward movement of the Intertropical Front (ITF). This has led to the start of the October to December rainy season in DRC, Rwanda, Burundi, and bimodal areas of Uganda. 

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

    In eastern and western Sudan and Eritrea, rainfall at the end of the June to September main rainy season was well above average (120 to 200 percent of normal), similar to the overall above-average rainfall amounts received throughout the season. This has supported above-average cropping and rangeland conditions. However, it has also caused flooding that caused to crop losses and temporarily displaced a significant number of households, most significantly in Kassala, Sennar, Kordofan, Al Gezira, Gedaref, White Nile, and Darfur States.

    In Ethiopia, the June to September Kiremt rains have gradually decreased since mid-August, although rainfall totals in most northern and western areas remained above average. The flooding threat remains high in western regions. However, in central, southern, and eastern areas of Oromia, rainfall has been below-average throughout the season. In these areas and parts of SNNPR, field observations and remote-sensing products indicate likely yield reductions.

    In Djibouti and Yemen, the June to September Karan/Karma rains were normal in the past month, with the exception of localized areas in Djibouti, Red Sea regions of Eritrea, and the western coastal strip of Yemen, where rains were slightly below average. As a result, pasture and livestock conditions have largely remained near normal.  

    In South Sudan, rainfall was well above average in northern, eastern, and western areas, where the main rainy season is still ongoing. In southern bimodal areas in southern South Sudan the second rainy season has started, although ongoing internal conflict has adversely affected agricultural activities.

    In DRC, seasonal rainfall has increased in the past month and both vegetation and cropping conditions have significantly improved in eastern areas. Vegetation conditions in northern Kivu are expected to gradually improve as the season progresses, despite erratic and slightly below-average rainfall in July and August.

    In Kenya, minimal amounts of rainfall were received in the past 20 days since it is not a main rainy season. 

    In Rwanda and Burundi, the rainfall seasons began on time in September and have been average to above average. This is favorable for land preparation and planting for Season A. In eastern Rwanda, where there has been prolonged dryness, the rains are expected to improve cropping conditions.

    In Uganda, although the main rainy season in Karamoja typically ends in September, the area has continued to receive rainfall in October, supporting favorable rangeland conditions. The September to December second rainy season in bimodal areas started on time and has been average to above average. 


    The short-term NOAA/GFS rainfall forecast (Figure 3) for October 20 to 27, 2016 shows the ongoing establishment of the October to December seasonal rains in the western sector of the region, specifically in southern Ethiopia and central and southern Somalia. The forecast rainfall is expected to help ease the current drier-than-normal conditions along the coastal strip of East Africa.

    Moderate to heavy rains (25 – 100 mm) are forecast in western and southern Ethiopia, western South Sudan, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, northwestern Tanzania, and western and central Kenya in the next two weeks. Heavy to very heavy rainfall (more than 100 mm) is forecast to continue over the western and central highlands of Ethiopia. The western coastal strip of Yemen is also forecast to continue experiencing light to moderate rains during this period.

    Meanwhile, the cessation of the seasonal rains Sudan and northern parts of South Sudan is expected during this time. In eastern and northern Kenya and much of Tanzania, conditions are expected to remain sunny and dry, as is typical for this time of year. 


    Figure 1

    ARC2 30-day rainfall estimate anomaly, percent of normal (1983-2009), 13 September – 12 October, 2016

    Source: NOAA/NWS/CPC

    Figure 2

    EMODIS/NDVI anomaly (2001-2010), September 26 – October 5, 2016

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    1-Week GFS-Rainfall forecast (mm), Valid until October 20 - 27, 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.

    Get the latest food security updates in your inbox Sign up for emails

    The information provided on this Website is not official U.S. Government information and does not represent the views or positions of the U.S. Agency for International Development or the U.S. Government.

    Jump back to top