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Deyr rainfall season comes to an end across most of Somalia

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • December 23, 2022
Deyr rainfall season comes to an end across most of Somalia

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Remote-sensing rainfall estimates, supported by field reports, show suppressed rainfall across most of Somalia during the December 11-20 period, a sign of the end of the deyr seasonal rainfall. There were only a few exceptions, as indicated by preliminary CHIRPS remote-sensing data, including 10-25 millimeters (mm) of localized rainfall in Lower Juba region; 5-10 mm in isolated areas in the northeast; and less than 5 mm in the northwest and along the north-central and southern coast (Figure 1). All recorded rainfall was within ±10 mm of the long-term average (1981-2020) for the 10-day period. According to FAO SWALIM river station gauge data, river water levels in most stations along the Juba and Shabelle rivers were on a declining trend as of December 23 and remained below the long-term mean and flood risk levels. As the deyr rains are now largely suppressed across the region, river water levels along the Juba and Shabelle riverine areas are anticipated to continue declining until the start of the next rainy season in April 2023.

In the northwest, minimal rainfall was reported in pastoral livelihood zones of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed, with no rainfall in Togdheer, Sanaag, and Sool regions during the December 11-20 period. While the lack of rainfall at this point in December is normal in most areas, the dryness in Guban Pastoral areas along the coast of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed regions is atypical as the xeys rains normally occur in the December-January period and have yet to start. Overall, rangeland conditions and water availability in most areas of the northwest are moderate to extremely below average due to several seasons of poor rainfall performance. As a result, atypical livestock movements are occurring within and from outside the northwest, especially in Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions. 

In the northeast, localized light rainfall was reported in pastoral areas of Bari during the December 11-20 period, but no rainfall was reported in Nugaal or northern Mudug regions. In Bari, most pastoral areas were dry, but one day of light-intensity rainfall was reported in localized areas of Coastal Deeh Pastoral livelihood zone of Iskushuban and Bandarbeyla districts and localized areas of East Golis Pastoral livelihood zone of Caluula and Iskushuban districts. All pastoral areas of Nugaal and northern Mudug regions were dry during the reporting period. Given persistently poor deyr rainfall performance across the northeast, rangeland and water conditions are extremely below average, leaving pastoral households dependent on water trucking at above-average prices. Atypical livestock outmigration was reported from Addun and Northern Inland Pastoral areas to Coastal Deeh Pastoral and other parts of the northeast.

In central regions, no rainfall was reported across all pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones in Galgaduud and southern Mudug regions during the December 11-20 period. This is the second consecutive dry spell across the central regions. Overall, the deyr rains were erratic and poorly distributed across most areas; however, Cowpea Agropastoral livelihood zone received relatively better rainfall than other areas. Rangeland conditions and access to water remain largely below average. Currently, most pastoral areas depend on commercial water trucking, which have reached atypically high prices. Atypical livestock outmigration has been reported within the central regions and to parts of the northeast, northwest, and areas in Ethiopia.

In the south, there were varying rainfall reports during the December 11-20 period. According to satellite imagery, most of Hiiraan, Lower Shabelle, Bakool, and Bay regions were completely dry, while most agropastoral and pastoral livelihoods of Lower Juba and localized areas in Gedo, Middle Juba, and Middle Shabelle received light to moderate rainfall. However, all rain gauge stations in Hiraan, Lower and Middle Shabelle, Lower and Middle Juba, Bay, and Bakool regions recorded zero precipitation. Overall, total seasonal deyr rainfall has been extremely below average across most of the south, though seasonal rainfall totals in Middle and Lower Juba, Bay, Bakool, and parts of Lower Shabelle were moderately better than in the other regions. The Shabelle and Juba rivers are significantly below average due to the poor seasonal rainfall performance in Somalia and the Ethiopian Highlands. 

According to the satellite-derived eVIIRs Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for December 11-20, significant deterioration in vegetation conditions is visible across Somalia, such as in the central and coastal areas, driven by drought. However, localized  areas in southern and south-central Somalia are showing positive anomalies, reflecting some positive impact of deyr rainfall (Figure 3). The NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day weather forecast through December 30 indicates a high likelihood of dry conditions across all areas of Somalia, indicating the end of the deyr season (Figure 4). This will drive further water recession and atypically low river water levels across the Shabelle and Juba riverine areas over the coming weeks. According to historical remote-sensing rainfall data, it is typical for the rains to begin to subside in mid-December and conclude by late December. However, the poor seasonal performance of the deyr rains – which marks the fifth consecutive drought season – is expected to result in a harsher-than-normal dry season from January to March.

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 11-20, 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 11-2

Figure 2

Figure 2

Source: Climate Hazards Center

Map of Somalia showing eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomaly from 2012-2021 average, December 11-20, 2

Figure 3

Figure 3

Source: FEWS NET/USGS

Map of Somalia showing Global Forecast System (GFS) rainfall forecast in mm for December 24-31, 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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