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Delayed and below-average Gu rains in many parts of the country

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • April 24, 2017
Delayed and below-average Gu rains in many parts of the country

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    Gu rainfall, which typically starts by mid-April, has not started in many areas of Somalia, and in most areas where rainfall was received, total rainfall was well below average. Most northern and central regions remained completely dry from April 11-20. Over the same time period in southern Somalia, light to moderate rains between 10 and 50 millimeters (mm) were received, and a few isolated areas received 75 mm (Figure 1). Overall, rainfall from April 11-20 was poorer than normal in terms of amount, intensity, and distribution, with amounts totaling 10 to 50 mm below the 2007-2016 short-term average (Figure 2). 


    In the Northwest, drought persists in most livelihood zones. Sheikh District of Togdheer Region and a few villages in Hargeisa District were the only areas to report rainfall, and reported rainfall in these areas was minimal in amount and intensity. The rainfall received had limited impact on pasture and water regeneration.

    In the Northeast, no rainfall was reported in any livelihood zones in Bari, Nugaal, or northern Mudug. The prevailing dry conditions have further limited access to pasture and water. Pasture and water resources are very limited in Northern Inland Pastoral and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones, where only minimal amounts of rainfall have been received over the past year. Livestock that survived the harsh Jilaal season have very limited pasture for consumption and livestock body conditions continue to deteriorate. Most livelihood zones are fully dependent on trucked-in water, which they are accessing through purchase or humanitarian assistance. 

    In central regions, no rainfall was reported in Galgaduud or southern Mudug. Drought conditions persist and water for both livestock and human consumption is very limited. There are few migration options due to ongoing drought conditions in neighboring regions, and the rate of livestock deaths in central regions is increasing.

    In the South, light to moderate rainfall was received in most regions from April 11-20. Pastoral livelihood zones in Juba and Gedo, and parts of Bay received light to moderate rainfall with near normal distribution. However, the rest of the South, including most of Bakool, Hiiraan, northern Gedo, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Shabelle received little to no rainfall. Rain gauge stations recorded 43 mm of rainfall in Qansahdher of Bay, 5 mm of rainfall in Hudur of Bakool, and 25 mm in Sakow of Middle Juba. River water levels in the Juba and Shabelle Rivers increased in the first ten days of April due to moderate rainfall in the Ethiopian highlights, but field reports indicated that levels have reduced somewhat between April 11 and 20. Heavy rains are forecast for both Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands in the coming week and river water levels are likely to rise again, with a possibility of flooding. 

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) shows below-average vegetation conditions throughout the country. Large vegetation deficits can be observed in most southern and central regions (Figure 3), which are the result of prolonged drought. The seven-day rainfall forecast for April 24-30 from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Climate Prediction Center (NOAA/CPC) forecasts 30-80 mm of rainfall in wide areas of central and northern Somalia, as well as in Bakool, and most of Hiiraan, Lower Shabelle, and Middle Shabelle of the South. The rest of the country is forecast to receive 25 mm or less over this time period (Figure 4). 

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    About this Report

    FEWS NET and FSNAU publish a Seasonal Monitor for Somalia every 10 days (dekad) through the end of the current April to June Gu rainy season. The purpose of this document is to provide updated information on the progress of the Gu season to facilitate contingency and response planning. This Somalia Seasonal Monitor is valid through April 30, 2017 and is produced in collaboration with the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit, U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and the Somali Water and Land Information System (SWALIM).

    Figures Satellite estimated rainfall in millimeters (mm), April 11 to 20, 2017

    Figure 1

    Satellite estimated rainfall in millimeters (mm), April 11 to 20, 2017

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    April 11 to 20, 2017 satellite estimated rainfall anomaly in mm from 2007 to 2016 mean

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2001-2010 mean, April 11 to 20, 2017

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 4

    Global Forecast System (GFS) rainfall forecast in mm for April 24 to 30, 2017

    Source: NOAA

    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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