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Most of Somalia remained dry in early December, apart from light to moderate rain in the South

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • December 14, 2022
Most of Somalia remained dry in early December, apart from light to moderate rain in the South

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Remote-sensing rainfall estimates, supported by field reports, show continued deyr rainfall deficits across most of Somalia during the December 1-10 period. According to preliminary CHIRPS remote-sensing data, rainfall totals across most of the country were 5 millimeters (mm) or less; rainfall totals in localized areas in the southern and coastal regions ranged from 5-25 mm; and localized pockets in Lower and Middle Juba received up to 50 mm of rainfall (Figure 1). Across the country, most rainfall recorded by remote-sensing data was within ±10 mm of the long-term average (1981-2020) for this 10-day period. However, localized areas of the Shabelle and Juba regions received 10-25 mm more rainfall than the long-term average, and pockets of Gedo received 10-25 mm less rainfall than the long-term average (Figure 2). According to FAO SWALIM river station gauge data, river water levels in most stations along the Juba and Shabelle rivers remained below the long-term mean as of December 14. An ongoing dry spell in the Ethiopian highlands is anticipated to continue driving the recession of river water levels along the Juba and Shabelle rivers in the coming weeks.  

In the northwest, most pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones remained dry during the December 1-10 period, with no rainfall reported in Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool regions. However, field reports indicated that one day of light to moderate rain fell in localized areas in the Northern Inland Pastoral and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones of the Xudun and Laascaanood districts of Sool region, which supported pastoral rangelands. Given the below-average deyr seasonal rainfall performance across most areas, rangeland conditions and water availability are below average in localized areas of Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, and Togdheer regions and below average to poor in Sool and Sanaag regions.

In the northeast, little to no rainfall was reported in most pastoral areas of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions during the December 1-10 period. While most of Bari region received no recorded rainfall, localized areas of the Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone of Iskshuban and Bandarbeyla districts in Bari continued to receive light to moderate rainfall. In Nugaal and northern Mudug region, most pastoral areas were extremely dry. However, the Hawd Pastoral areas of Nugaal and northern Mudug regions received one day of heavy rainfall early in December that positively impacted rangelands and water access. Overall, rangeland and livestock body conditions across the northeast are low to below average due to extremely poor deyr rainfall.

In central regions, precipitation varied during the December 1-10 period. While most agropastoral and pastoral areas of Galgaduud and southern Mudug regions experienced a dry spell, localized areas of the Cowpea Agropastoral livelihood zone of Hobyo and Xarardheere districts of southern Mudug region and Ceeldheer district of Galgaduud region received moderate rainfall. Meanwhile, localized light showers fell in the Coastal Deeh Pastoral areas of Hobyo and Ceeldheer districts. Rangeland and water availability remain significantly below average in most areas. However, in the Cowpea Agropastoral areas of Hobyo, Xarardheere, and Ceeldheer districts, rangeland and cropping conditions are relatively better due to fair deyr rainfall totals and distribution through the season.

In the south, most agropastoral and pastoral livelihood zones received light to moderate rainfall during the December 1-10 period, while Bakool, Gedo, and Hiraan regions remained dry. Localized light to moderate rain fell in agropastoral and pastoral areas of Bay, Lower Shabelle, Middle Shabelle, and Middle Juba regions and moderate rainfall was reported in most areas of Lower Juba. Meanwhile, rain gauge stations recorded 22 mm in Baydhaba (Bay), 18 mm in Jalalaqsi (Hiraan), 13 mm in Afgooye (Lower Shabelle), 11.5 mm in Dinsoor (Bay), and 7 mm in Saakow (Middle Juba). No rainfall was recorded at the rain gauge stations in Xudur (Bakool), Beledweyne and Buloburte (Hiraan), and Jamaame (Lower Juba). According to SWALIM’s river gauge station data on December 14, the Juba and Shabelle river water levels are below the long-term mean and significantly below the flood risk level.

According to the satellite-derived eVIIRs Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for December 1-10, drought conditions, as shown by negative vegetation anomalies, are widespread across Somalia. However, localized areas in south-central and northern regions continue showing positive anomalies, reflecting some positive impact of deyr rainfall (Figure 3). The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day weather forecast through December 20 indicates the likelihood of widespread dry conditions across all areas of Somalia, which is typical at this time of year according to the remote-sensing rainfall anomaly, as the rains typically start to subside in mid-December (Figure 4). Given currently below-average deyr rainfall performance and with no rainfall forecasted in the Ethiopian highlands, river water levels in the Juba and Shabelle basins in southern Somalia will be atypically low in the coming weeks.

For more rain gauge data, please contact So-Hydro@fao.org or visit www.faoswalim.org.

Figures Map of Somalia showing Estimated rainfall (CHIRPS Preliminary) in mm, December 1-10, 2022

Figure 1

Figure 1

Source: Climate Hazards Center

Map of Somalia showing Estimated rainfall anomaly (CHIRPS Preliminary) in mm compared to the 1981-2020 average, December 1-10

Figure 2

Figure 2

Source: Climate Hazards Center

Map of Somalia showing eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2012-2021 average, December 1-10, 20

Figure 3

Figure 3

Source: FEWS NET/USGS

Map of Somalia showing Global Forecast System (GFS) rainfall forecast in mm for December 14-20, 2022

Figure 4

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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