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Light to moderate rainfall in the South and dry conditions in central and northern regions

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • November 23, 2018
Light to moderate rainfall in the South and dry conditions in central and northern regions

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    There was little to no rainfall in most central and northern regions from November 10th to 20th, with the exception of a few localized areas that received light to moderate rainfall. Meanwhile, many areas in southern Somalia received light to moderate rainfall. According to satellite-derived rainfall estimates (RFE2), very localized rainfall in the northwest was less than 25 mm, while precipitation in the South ranged from 10 to 75 mm (Figure 1). Compared to the short-term average, rainfall was climatologically average in central and northern regions; however, field reports suggest that it is atypical for these areas to receive no rainfall during this period (Figure 2). In the South, rainfall anomaly compared to the short-term average indicated that many areas accumulated deficits of 10 to 50 mm; however, localized pockets in Bay and Gedo regions recorded a surplus of 10 to 50 mm. Shabelle River water levels by Beledweyn in Hiiraan region began to rise compared to the previous reporting period, but both the Shabelle and Juba rivers remain below typical levels. 


    In the Northwest, most livelihood zones received no rainfall. However, field reports suggest that West Golis Pastoral livelihood zone in Borama district in Awdal and Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone in Hargeisa district in Woqooyi Galbeed received localized light to moderate rainfall. RFE2 estimates also indicate localized rainfall amounting to less than 25 mm (Figure 1). Overall, rangeland conditions remain near average in most of Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed and parts of Togdheer and Sool. However, conditions in most of Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP) livelihood zone, especially in eastern Sool and Sanaag, remain below average.

    In the Northeast, no rainfall was reported in most of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug, marking the third consecutive ten-day period of little to no rainfall. Only localized areas of Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing livelihood zone in Bari received some light showers, according to field reports. Continued failure of the rains during the last three ten-day periods are severely impacting the availability of pasture and water in these regions, leading to mass livestock migration within and between pastoral livelihood zones in search of pasture and water.

    In central regions, rainfall performance in Galgaduud and southern Mudug was mixed. Localized moderate rainfall was reported in the coastal districts of Hobyo, Harardhere, and Elder as well in the inland district of Elbur. However, most livelihood zones in Galkayo, Adado, Abudwaq, and Dhusamareb districts received little to no rainfall. Persistent dryness in these livelihood zones is accelerating pasture and water resource depletion, although vegetation conditions still remain near normal in many areas. Poor rainfall has negatively affected cowpea crop production in agropastoral areas.

    In the South, remote sensing products estimated light to moderate rainfall across most regions. Field information confirmed this, though the rain gauge estimates are considerably higher in some areas than those estimated by satellite imagery. Field information indicated that moderate rainfall with fair distribution occurred in large parts of Bay, Gedo, and Lower Juba regions, while localized light to moderate rains fell in Hiiraan, Bakool, and most parts of Middle and Lower Shabelle. Rainfall quantity was lowest in Middle Juba, where only light showers were reported in all districts of the region. Rain gauge stations recorded 230mm in Qansahdhere (Bay), 71mm in Dinsoor (Bay), 60 mm in Hudur (Bakool), 59.5 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 14 mm in Elbarde (Bakool), 10 mm in Halgan (Hiiraan), and 0 mm in Sakow (Middle Juba). Water levels in the Shabelle River near Beletweyne (Hiiraan) started to rise due to recent rains in the upper river catchment in the Ethiopian highlands, but both the Shabelle and Juba water levels remain below normal. 

    The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) indicates that large deficits remain in many southern, central, and northeastern areas of the country, though vegetation conditions have slightly improved relative to the October 21-30 period (Figure 3). According to the Climate Prediction Center’s seven-day rainfall forecast through November 30, most of Somalia will likely experience dry conditions. However, localized areas in Awdal and Woqooyi Galbeed, the coastal strip of Sanaag and Bari, and coastal areas of Lower and Middle Shabelle are expected to receive 20 to 60 mm of rainfall (Figure 4).                          

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    Figures Map of rainfall from November 11 to 20 estimated by RFE2 satellite imagery. Rainfall accumulation was less than 25 mm in very

    Figure 1

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Map of rainfall anomaly compared to the 2005-2009 average for November 11 to 20. Rainfall was climatologically average except

    Figure 2

    Source: NOAA/CPC

    Map of vegetation measured by NDVI compared to the short-term median. Vegetation is generally average in northern and central

    Figure 3

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Map of rainfall forecast for Nov 24-30. Most of Somalia is forecast to receive no rainfall. localized areas in Awdal and Woqo

    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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