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Most of Somalia continued to accumulate rainfall deficits in late October

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • Somalia
  • November 5, 2022
Most of Somalia continued to accumulate rainfall deficits in late October

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Rainfall performance varied across Somalia during the October 21-31 period. Rainfall amounts received during this period were less than typical across much of the country. However, field information suggests that large parts of Bay and Bakool regions and localized areas in the north – especially in Togdheer, Sool, and Bari regions – received moderate to heavy rainfall. According to preliminary CHIRPS remote-sensing data, most of the country received 5-25 millimeters (mm) of rainfall during the October 21-31 period, while parts of the northwest (Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions) and south (Bay and Bakool regions) received 25-50 mm of rainfall or more (Figure 1). Compared to the long-term average (1981-2020), remote-sensing data suggest that cumulative rainfall in late October was largely below average across central and southern Somalia (Figure 2), though localized areas across the country did receive average or slightly above-average rainfall (Figure 2). According to the most recent FAO SWALIM river station gauge data on November 5, river water levels at most key monitoring points along the Shabelle and Juba rivers are above average, linked to both local rainfall and rainfall in the upper river catchments in the Ethiopian highlands. Flooding risk is below moderate risk levels, except at Baardheere station which surpassed the flood risk threshold.  

In the northwest, localized light to moderate rainfall was reported across many areas of Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions during the October 21-31 period. Moderate rainfall with average distribution was reported across most of Hawd Pastoral areas of Togdheer and Sool regions and West Golis Pastoral areas of Togdheer, while other pastoral areas such as Northern Inland Pastoral received localized light to moderate rainfall. However, little to no rainfall was reported in pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones of Awdal region and in large parts of Woqooyi Galbeed. Overall, while these rains have helped to alleviate rangeland and water resource shortages, it is likely that the massive, ongoing livestock migrations from rain-deficit areas with water and pasture shortages into the northwest will strain if not deplete these local resources.

In the northeast, most of the pastoral areas of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug regions received little to no rainfall during the October 21-31 period. However, localized pastoral areas of the Northern Inland Pastoral zone and a few pockets of the East Golis Pastoral zone in Bari region received light to moderate rainfall, while localized heavy rainfall in the pastoral plateau of Qardho district in Bari region led to flash floods that destroyed property and infrastructure in Qardho town. In Nugaal and northern Mudug, most areas received little to no rainfall. Although localized rainfall was somewhat beneficial, rangeland conditions and water availability remain significantly below normal levels for most areas.

In central regions, rainfall amounts were generally low across the pastoral and agropastoral livelihood zones of Galgaduud and southern Mudug regions during the October 21-31 period. Most pastoral and agropastoral areas received little to no rainfall. However, localized moderate rainfall occurred in Addun Pastoral and Cowpea Agropastoral livelihood zones. Coastal Deeh Pastoral areas remain the most drought-affected areas, having received little to no rainfall since the beginning of the season in October. Although sporadic rainfall throughout October has somewhat improved rangeland conditions in localized areas of Hawd Pastoral, Addun Pastoral, and Cowpea Agropastoral areas, conditions remain relatively poor in most pastoral areas.

In the south, rainfall amounts varied. According to field reports, supported by remote-sensing data, most regions received localized light to moderate rainfall during the October 21-31 period. However, most livelihood zones of Bay and Bakool regions received well-distributed, moderate to high rainfall amounts. The rains were largely below average except in much of Bay and Bakool and some localized areas of other regions, where rainfall was average or slightly above average. Meanwhile, rain gauge stations recorded 145 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 103 mm in Dinsor (Bay), 62 mm in Buloburte (Hiraan), 60.5 mm in Xudur (Bakool), 41 mm in Elbarde (Bakool), 10 mm in Sakow (Middle Juba) and 4.5 mm in Beledweyne (Hiraan). However, no rainfall was recorded at the rain gauge stations in Jamame (Lower Juba) or Janaale and Afgoye (Lower Shabelle). Most of the SWALIM’s river gauge stations along the Juba and Shabelle regions are showing near or above-average water levels. At the Bardheere river station, river levels are above the flood risk level.    

According to the satellite-derived eVIIRs Normalized Difference Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the period of October 21-31, vegetation conditions in most areas of the country remain largely below typical levels (Figure 3). However, localized improvements were observed in the northern regions due to recent rainfall. According to the seven-day weather forecast from the NOAA Climate Prediction Center through November 10, most of the country will likely experience dry conditions, apart from a few very localized areas in the south that are likely to receive some light showers (Figure 4). As the forecast shows no major rainfall in the Ethiopian highlands, water levels are expected to stabilize or recede along the Juba and Shabelle river basins, reducing the risk of flooding across the riverine areas.

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

Figures This is a map showing that most of Somalia received 5-25mm of rainfall, with some areas in the northwest and south received l

Figure 1

Figure 1

Source: UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center

This is a map showing that rainfall amounts received were below average across much of Somalia, though some areas received ne

Figure 2

Figure 2

Source: UC Santa Barbara Climate Hazards Center

This is a map showing that vegetation conditions are below average across most of the country, with southern areas worst affe

Figure 3

Figure 3

Source: FEWS NET

This is a map showing that dry conditions are forecast across most of the country.

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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