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2018 Gu season starts with average to above-average rainfall over most regions of Somalia

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • April 23, 2018
2018 Gu season starts with average to above-average rainfall over most regions of Somalia

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  • Current Situation
  • About this Report
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    Rainfall started earlier than normal across most of Somalia, between late February and early March. Average to above-average rainfall continued in to early April, which marks the typical start of the Gu season. During the first ten days of April, 25-100 millimeters (mm) were received in southern and northwestern regions. Between April 11 and 20, average to heavy rainfall persisted, with 50 to 150 mm in southern regions and 10 to 75 mm in central and northwestern regions (Figure 1). Conversely, little to no rainfall has been received in the Northeast, including most of Bari, Nugaal, and eastern parts of Sool and Sanaag. According to satellite imagery, rainfall received in the second dekad of April was 10-150 mm above the short term mean (STM) across most areas of the country, though pockets of below-average rainfall – between 10 and 50 mm below the STM – were registered in Middle Shabelle (Figure 2).

    Current Situation

    In the Northwest, average or above-average rainfall was received in the first 20 days of April in Golis and Northwest Pastoral livelihood zones of Woqooyi Galbeed and Awdal, and in Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Togdheer. This follows light to moderate rainfall in late February and March, a time when rainfall is not typically received. The exceptions to this are in Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Sool and Sanaag and East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone in Lasqoray district of Sanaag, where little rainfall has been received to date. In Guban Pastoral livelihood zone, where Gu rainfall is not typically received, localized areas of Lughaya and Zeylac Districts in Awdal have received light to moderate rainfall between April 1 and 10. Furthermore, flashfloods have occurred in the neighboring Golis Mountains between April 11 and 20, providing access to additional water sources for pastoralists from Guban Pastoral livelihood zone. 

    In the Northeast, conditions remain atypically dry in most parts of the Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug as little to no Gu rainfall has been received to date. As a result, pasture and water remain below normal across Northern Inland Pastoral, Coastal Deeh Pastoral, East Golis Pastoral, and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones of the Northeast. Conversely, Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone received heavy rainfall between April 11 and 20 and pasture and water availability are improving in this livelihood zone.

    In the central regions, light rainfall was received in all areas during the first ten days of April, except Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone, where heavier rainfall of 25-50 mm was received. The spatial distribution of rainfall increased across central areas between April 10 and 20, and 10-50 mm were received in all areas except pockets of Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones. Similar to northwestern and southern areas of the country, rainfall in April follows light to moderate rainfall received in March. As a result, water sources and pasture availability have steadily increased from early April, and cowpea crops in Central Agropastoral livelihood zone have germinated.

    In the South, satellite-derived rainfall estimates and field reports indicate heavy rainfall was received in many areas between late March and mid-April. In most areas, rainfall totals were between 10 and 75 mm between April 1 and 10, and between 25 and 150 mm between April 11 and 20. During the first twenty days of April, rain gauge stations recorded 185 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 340 mm in Dinsor (Bay), 188 mm in Hudur (Bakool), 150 mm in Elbarde (Bakool), 114 mm in Beledweyne (Hiraan), and 137 mm in Buloburte (Hiraan). In general, the rainfall has had positive impacts, including supporting the regeneration of pasture and normal crop development. However, river water levels have increased significantly and localized flooding has been reported along the Shabelle and Juba rivers, due to both heavy rainfall in Somalia and above-average rainfall in the Ethiopia highlands. The river water level in Beledweyne of Hiiraan region is currently at 7.15 meters, close to the estimated flooding point of 7.3 meters. FAO SWALIM recently released an alert stating that “the rainfall forecast for the coming week is calling for more rains, which will increase the risk of flooding.”

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) for April 11 to 20 shows improved vegetation conditions across many areas of Somalia (Figure 3), though ground reports indicated vegetation remains below-average in northeastern regions. The Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day weather forecast through April 30 forecasts moderate to heavy rainfall ranging from 20 to 125 mm across most areas of the country (Figure 4).

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    About this Report

    FEWS NET publishes 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, 2018 and is produced in collaboration with U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) Somalia, the Somali Water and Land Information System (SWALIM), a number of other agencies, and several Somali non-governmental organizations (NGOs).


    Figure 1

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 2

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 3

    Figure 3. eModis Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2007-2016 median, April 11-20, 2018

    Source: NOAA CPC

    Figure 4

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    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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