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Light to moderate rains across the South and in localized central and northern areas

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • December 4, 2018
Light to moderate rains across the South and in localized central and northern areas

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    Most southern regions received light to moderate rainfall from November 21 to 30, according to remote sensing imagery. Ground information confirmed that moderate rainfall occurred in most of Gedo and Bay regions as well as in localized areas of Bakool, Lower Juba, Hiiraan, and Middle and Lower Shabelle regions, while light rainfall fell in the rest of the South. Although remote sensing imagery reported little to no rainfall in most central and northern regions, ground reports indicated localized light to moderate rains fell during the same period.  According to satellite-derived rainfall estimates (RFE2), most of the South received 10 to 50 millimeters (mm) of rainfall while the rest of the country received less than 10 mm of rainfall (Figure 1). Compared to the short-term average, rainfall at this time of year was climatologically average across most of Somalia. However, large parts of the Juba valley and localized central and northeastern areas accumulated rainfall deficits of 10 to 25 mm, while parts of northern Gedo and southern Bay and localized areas of Hiiraan and Middle and Lower Shabelle accumulated rainfall 10 to 150 mm above average (Figure 2).  


    In the Northwest, ground reports indicated that rainfall quantity improved compared to the previous reporting period, though RFE2 estimates indicate no rainfall. Most of Woqooyi Galbeed and Awdal regions experienced dry conditions. However, the onset of the December to January Xeys rains began in Guban Pastoral livelihood zone in Awdal with localized moderate to light rainfall amounts. Localized moderate-to-light and light-to-moderate rains were also reported in West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone in Sheikh and Burao districts in Togdheer region and in Erigabo and Elafweyn districts in Sanaag region. Little to no rainfall was reported in Sool.

    In the Northeast, little to no rainfall was reported across Nugaal and northern Mudug’s pastoral areas. Although RFE2 estimates did not report rainfall, ground reports confirmed localized light to moderate rains across Bari region’s pastoral areas. These areas include West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone in Bossaso, Alula, and Qandala districts; Coastal Deeh and Fishing Pastoral livelihood zone in Bandarbeyla and Iskushuban districts; and Northern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone in Bandarbeyla, Bossaso, Iskushuban, and Qardho districts. Although rainfall distribution was uneven and below average, the increase in rainfall is expected to bring short-term improvement to pasture and water availability and overall rangeland conditions. 

    In central regions, rainfall performance in Galgaduud and southern Mudug was mixed. Although RFE estimates did not indicate any rainfall during the reporting period, ground reports confirmed that some moderate rainfall occurred. Cowpea Agropastoral and Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing livelihood zones in Harardhere and Elder districts received moderate rainfall, as did most of Hobyo and Elbur districts. The rest of the region, including most of Hawd Pastoral and Addun Pastoral livelihood zones, received little to no rainfall.

    In the South, light to moderate rainfall in terms of amount and distribution were reported across the South, although field estimates are less than the amounts reported by remote sensing products. According to field reports, rainfall was moderate in amount and distributed primarily in Gedo and Bay. Localized moderate rainfall also occurred in parts of Bakool – most notably in Tayeeglow and parts of Hudur districts – and localized areas of Hiiraan, Lower Juba, and Middle and Lower Shabelle. Most of Middle Juba received only light showers. Rain gauge stations recorded 27mm in Dinsor (Bay), 72.5mm in Qansahdhere (Bay), 17mm in Hudur (Bakool), 29mm in Buloburte (Hiiraan), 0mm in Halgan (Hiiraan), and 20mm in Sakow (Middle Juba). Shabelle and Juba river water levels are within the normal range, and flood risk is low given that rainfall has subsided in the upper river catchment of the Ethiopian highlands.

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicates vegetation conditions have improved across the country compared to the previous 10-day period. However, large deficits remain in many southern, central, and northeastern areas (Figure 3). According to the Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day rainfall forecast through December 10, large parts of the South and the Galgaduud and Mudug coastal strip are expected to receive light to moderate amounts of rainfall ranging from 10 to 60 mm (Figure 4). However, most pastoral livelihood zones in central and northern Somalia are likely to experience dry conditions, which are consistent with climatology in December.   

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    Figures Map of estimated rainfall in mm. Rainfall ranged from 10 to 50 mm in many parts of southern Somalia. The rest of the country

    Figure 1

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Map of rainfall anomaly in mm. Rainfall was climatologically average compared to the short-term mean across most of Somalia.

    Figure 2

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Map of vegetation conditions measured by NDVI. Vegetation conditions have improved across the country compared to the previou

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Map of rainfall forecast December 4th to 10th. Light to moderate rainfall is forecast in the south and in the central coastal

    Figure 4

    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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