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Average to above-average and well distributed rainfall over most of the region except for parts of the west

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • July 24, 2019
Average to above-average and well distributed rainfall over most of the region except for parts of the west

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Key Messages
    • The ITF (Intertropical Front) continued its northward migration; it was located north of its climatological position during the first dekad of July practically throughout the region (Figure 1), which should bring a wet period to the Sahelian zone.

    • The main rainy season from March to July in the bi-modal zone has been characterized by mostly average to above average and well distributed rainfall. 

    • The Sudanian-Guinean zone experienced good rains from early May to the beginning of July (Figure 2).

    • In the Sahelian zone planting took place on time or early, however mostly slight delays have been observed over Guinea Bissau, the Gambia, southern Senegal and extreme western Mali.

    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The ITF’s northward migration started in early March and is now positioned between 16.0 in eastern Chad and 19.8 degrees of latitude in northwestern Mali in early July.  It is located at its climatological position over southwestern Mauritania and 1-2 degrees north of it over southeastern Mauritania, Mali, Niger and Chad.
    • Rainfall analysis indicates continued adequate and favorable moisture conditions for planted crops in the region with few exceptions:
      • The Sahelian zone, where planting delays matter due to the limited length of the growing period, has mostly received adequate and well distributed rainfall during the 1 June – 15 July period.  Consequently, planting has taken place on time or earlier than normal over most of the area with the exception of The Gambia, Senegal, Mauritania and western Mali where planting delays have been observed.  These delays are mostly slight and are not expected to have any negative impact on the season outcome should rainfall conditions continue to be favorable until the end of the season.  However, in western Mali and eastern Senegal 2-3 dekads long delays have been observed and these areas will be closely monitored.
      • In the Sudanian-Guinean zone the agro-climatological conditions have been favorable to planted crops from early May to present despite some areas with delayed planting.  Planting delays of 2-3 dekads have been observed in southern Sierra Leone, southwestern Guinea, southeastern Nigeria and extreme southern Chad. Crops in delay- affected areas are not expected to suffer from any negative effects due to the sufficient length of the growing period.
    • The main rainy season (March to July) in the bimodal zone has nearly ended.  Planted crops have benefited from adequate and well distributed rains, resulting in favorable conditions for crop growth and development. An average to above average maize harvest is expected.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward normally and no significant dry spells are expected within the next two weeks over most of the region except in the extreme western parts of the region.  This medium-term forecast indicates that wet conditions are expected the first week over northern Senegal and southern Mauritania whereas during the second, dryness is expected to prevail.  The area should continue to be closely monitored.


    The seasonal forecast from NOAA-NCEP for the next three-month periods (August to October and September to November) calls for average to above-average rainfall over most of the region with the exception of western Mauritania and parts of the bi-modal zone where below-average rainfall is expected during the August to October period.

    Figures Map of Average ITF position during the 1st dekad of July: 21-200 mm of rainfall throughout the region with ITF in the norther

    Figure 1

    Figure 1.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Rainfall estimate (RFE) total (1st June to 15th July) anomaly and dry spells: Mostly focused in western areas of Senegal, Mau

    Figure 2

    Figure 2.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    West Africa seasonal calendar  In the North, Main season cultivation is from mid-May to mid-August. Main harvest is from mid-

    Figure 1


    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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