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April to June Gu 2018 defined by average to above-average rainfall across most of Somalia

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • July 9, 2018
April to June Gu 2018 defined by average to above-average rainfall across most of Somalia

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    After a dynamic start of season that saw rainfall begin as early as late February in some areas, Gu 2018 brought average to well above-average precipitation to most of Somalia.  Typically, the Gu season begins in April and ends in June. Despite the early start, most rainfall occurred between late April and the end of May. June saw little-to-no rainfall, aside from localized and erratic light to moderate rains in the South and Northwest. In the North, total cumulative rainfall ranged from 50 to 300 mm, with the exception of coastal areas and the northern strip of East Golis livelihood zone, which received less than 25 mm. Central Somalia accumulated 50-175 mm, considered average to above-average. In the South, rainfall was predominantly above average, with most areas accumulating 200-300 mm and Lower and Middle Juba receiving 300-600 mm and up (Figure 1). Heavy rains in the South and Ethiopian highlands caused flooding in southern riverine areas. By end of season, total cumulative rainfall was 25-200 mm above the short-term mean (STM) across most of Somalia. However, large parts of the North – namely Bari, eastern Sool and Sanaag, and localized areas of Nugaal – experienced a cumulative deficit (Figure 2).


    In the Northwest, the Gu rains started earlier than usual in February and March. April rainfall was average to above average in most livelihood zones. In May, moderate to heavy rains fell before tapering off at the end of the month in most areas. However, localized areas of West Golis and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed continued to receive light to moderate rains. During June, precipitation was highly localized and thinly distributed. Overall, most livelihood zones accumulated 25-100 mm above the STM, although the eastern areas of Sool and Sanaag recorded a 10-25 mm deficit.

    In the Northeast, the Gu rains were delayed in Bari region, leaving most livelihood zones with atypically dry conditions. Only localized areas of Northern Inland Pastoral, Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing, and East Golis Pastoral livelihood zones received intermittent light to moderate rainfall throughout the season. Rainfall performance in Nugaal and northern Mudug was relatively better, and most areas of Addun and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zones consistently received average to above-average rainfall from mid-April to mid-May. Overall, cumulative rainfall was 10-25 percent below average in most of Bari and Nugaal, while most of Mudug received 10-50 mm above-average rainfall.

    In central regions, the Gu rains started earlier than usual in Galgaduud and southern Mudug, beginning late March and early April. Most livelihood zones received 150-300 mm of rainfall in April and May, with temporally and spatially moderate rain distribution. In June, little-to-no rainfall was reported across all livelihood zones. Cumulative rainfall was 25-20 mm above the STM across most pastoral and agropastoral livelihoods zones.

    In the South, Gu rainfall generally started on time in April, with the exception of localized moderate to heavy rainfall recorded in March in Bay and Lower and Middle Shabelle. Overall, rainfall intensity and distribution – both temporally and spatially – were average tending to above-average across the South. Riverine areas in Hiiraan, Gedo, Lower and Middle Shabelle, and Lower and Middle Juba experienced widespread flooding due to heavy rainfall in the South combined with heavy rains in the Ethiopian highlands. June saw localized light to moderate showers in parts of Lower and Middle Shabelle, Middle Juba, and Bay, as well as moderate rainfall in most livelihood zones of Lower Juba.  

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for June 21-30 showed favorable vegetation conditions for most areas, although deficits were observed in rain-deficit areas of Northeast (Figure 3). The July 4-10 rainfall forecast from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Climate Prediction Center predicts dry conditions in most parts of the country, signaling the end of the Gu season. However, precipitation is likely in localized areas in the Juba and Shabelle river basins and parts of Northwest, potentially indicating the onset of the Hagaa/Karan rainy season (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 a summary of Gu 2018 seasonal performance and the final Seasonal Monitor for the Gu. This monitor 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 nongovernmental organizations (NGOs).


    Figure 1

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 2

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Figure 4

    Source: NOAA/CPC and 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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