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Generally average rainfall totals for the start of long season rains in the Bi-modal Zone

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • April 30, 2014
Generally average rainfall totals for the start of long season rains in the Bi-modal Zone

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Key Messages
    • March to April rainfall estimates, as well as the short and medium term forecasts, indicate that the onset of the long season rains (March to July) has begun normally in the Bi-modal Zone.
    • Current climatic conditions are favorable for the normal start of agricultural activities in Bi-modal and southern Guinean-Sudanian Zones.

    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The Intertropical Discontinuity (ITD) was north of its climatological location in mid-April, bringing with it early rainfall for much of the Guinean-Sudanian zone. The resulting above-average rainfall accumulation was seen in central Nigeria, southern parts of Guinea and Burkina, as well as across northern areas of Côte d'Ivoire, Ghana, Togo and Benin.
    • The seasonable start to the 2014 Bi-modal Season in mid-March has been followed by consistently above–average rainfall accumulation across southern Gulf of Guinea countries.
    • The good moisture conditions resulting from the above-average rainfall observed in late March and most of April maintain favorable conditions for crop growth in the Bi-modal and southern parts of the Guinean-Sudanian Zone. This currently benefits early planted yam and perennial crops, such as cocoa and coffee, and should allow for a timely start to other crops planting activities in the Bi-modal Zone. Current rainfall conditions may also provide incentive to farmers for intensification of field preparation activities in the concerned parts of most of the Guinean-Sudanian Zone that experienced above-average rainfall.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, moderat to heavy rainfall is expected to continue for the next two weeks.

    Forecasts

    Seasonal forecasts from major meteorological centers (IRI, ECMWF, NOAA-NCEP) for the next several three-month periods (April-June, May-July, June-August and July-September), though they have low skill this early in the season, are not showing any abnormalities that would suggest major rainfall deficits in the coming months. It is indicated, though, that further into the season the western Sahel (Senegal, southern Mauritania and western Mali) has a higher probability for below average rainfall accumulation.

    Figures Total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm, 3rd dekad of March to 2nd dekad of April

    Figure 1

    Total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm, 3rd dekad of March to 2nd dekad of April

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2001-2010 mean, 3rd dekad of March to 2nd dekad of April

    Figure 2

    Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2001-2010 mean, 3rd dekad of March to 2nd dekad of April

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Figure 3

    Seasonal Calendar in a Typical Year

    Source: 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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