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Normal light-to-moderate rainfall in early June continues to support drought recovery across much of Somalia

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • June 15, 2023
Normal light-to-moderate rainfall in early June continues to support drought recovery across much of Somalia

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FEWS NET publishes a Seasonal Monitor for Somalia every ten 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 June 15, 2023, and is produced in collaboration with the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), the Climate Hazards Center, the Food Security and Nutrition Analysis Unit (FSNAU) Somalia, the Somali Water and Land Information System (SWALIM), several other agencies, and several Somali non-governmental organizations (NGOs).

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From June 1 to 10, most of Somalia experienced limited and localized light-to-moderate rainfall, though central parts of the country received minimal-to-no rainfall (Figure 1). However, across the country, rainfall amounts received were near the long-term (1981-2020) average for the time of year (Figure 2), characterized by a decrease in rainfall during June. In the south, large portions of the Juba regions and the southern portion of the Lower Shabelle region recorded light-to-moderate rainfall of around 10-25 mm in the June 1-10 period, according to CHIRPS satellite imagery data. Similar rainfall amounts were recorded in the northwest across most of Woqooyi Galbeed and Togdheer regions and localized areas of Sool and Sanaag regions. According to FAO SWALIM river station gauge data, water levels of the Shabelle and Juba rivers remained near or above long-term average levels as of June 15. Notably, the districts of Beledweyne and Buloburte are experiencing significantly elevated river water levels, with flood risk ranging from moderate to high thresholds. Rainfall to date in the gu season, though below average in much of the central region, has generally driven improvement in pasture and water resources and supported crop growth.

Figure 1

Estimated cumulative rainfall (mm) according to CHIRPS, June 1-10, 2023; preliminary data for June 1-10
rainfall was received in the northwest and south

Source: UCSB Climate Hazards Center

Figure 2

Estimated cumulative rainfall anomalies (mm) according to CHIRPS, June 1-10, 2023, compared to 1981-2020 mean; preliminary data for June 1-10
rainfall was near average across the whole country

Source: UCSB Climate Hazards Center

In the northwest (Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions), rainfall amounts varied during the June 1-10 period. According to field reports, little-to-no rainfall was received across most of the Guban Pastoral livelihood zone (located in the north of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed), the West Golis livelihood zone of Woqooyi Galbeed and Sanaag, and the Hawd Pastoral and Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP) areas of Sanaag and Sool. However, Northwest Agropastoral areas of Borama (Awdal) and Gabiley (Woqooyi Galbeed) – along with substantial parts of Togdheer Agropastoral and West Golis Pastoral areas of the Togdheer region – received moderate rainfall during this period. The rainfall had a positive impact on rangelands and water availability, contributing to ongoing improvement in livestock body conditions, production, and reproduction.

In the northeast (Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions), field reports indicate that minimal-to-no rainfall was received in the June 1-10 period across most areas, despite CHIRPS data suggesting that light-to-moderate rainfall was received in parts of Bari and Nugaal. Despite the variable intensity and distribution of the gu rains throughout the season in the northeast, there has been a notable improvement in rangeland resources – including pasture and water availability – compared to previous drought seasons, at least partially due to some flash flooding earlier in the season. However, localized below-average pasture conditions still exist, especially in coastal areas and in most of Addun Pastoral of northern Mudug, where livestock body conditions remain below average.

In the central regions (Galgaduud and southern Mudug), minimal-to-no rainfall has been reported in during the June 1-20 period. Although cumulative rainfall to date in the gu season has been below average in much of the central region, the rainfall received has had a positive impact on rangeland conditions (though below-average anomalies persist in some areas, such as southern Mudug), supporting livestock migration opportunities and providing some relief to pastoralists affected by the prolonged drought. Livestock body conditions are currently reported to be average to above average.

In the southern regions, field reports indicate that little-to-no rainfall was received in most areas during the period of June 1-10. However, localized light-to-moderate rainfall was reported in some parts of the Lower and Middle Juba regions and in the southern Lower Shabelle region. Though pasture and browse is regenerating in these areas, there large parts of Hiraan and the Shabelle regions continue to register below-average vegetation conditions due to inadequate rainfall. Rain gauge stations recorded 12 mm of precipitation in Dinsor (Bay), 10 mm in Xudur (Bakool), and 3 mm in Baidoa (Bay), while no precipitation was recorded by rain gauge stations in Ceelbarde (Bakool), Beledweyne (Hiraan), Afgooye (Lower Shabelle), Jamaame (Lower Juba), and Saakow (Middle Juba). Water levels in the Shabelle and Juba rivers are currently near or above the long-term average. Notably, river water levels are significantly higher in Beledweyne and Buloburte districts, with moderate to high flood risk levels.

According to eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) data for the June 1-20 period, much of the country has continued to witness improvement in vegetation conditions due to continued rainfall, despite the low amounts received recently in many areas. Despite the improvement, however, some southern and central parts of the country continue to register negative anomalies given insufficient rainfall to improve conditions to normal levels following the severe impacts of the drought (Figure 3). According to the NOAA Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day rainfall forecast for June 14-20, most of Somalia is expected to receive little or no rainfall, which is generally normal for that period (Figure 4).  

Figure 3

eVIIRS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) anomalies, June 1-10, 2023 compared to 2012-2021 mean
below-average vegetation exists in Hirraan, the Shabelles, and southern Mudug

Source: USGS

Figure 4

Global Forecast System (GFS) rainfall forecast in mm for June 14-20, 2023
no rainfall is expected

Source: NOAA/CPC

Recommended citation: FEWS NET. Somalia Seasonal Monitor, June 15, 2023: Normal light-to-moderate rainfall in early June continues to support drought recovery across much of Somalia

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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