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The season is progressing well with mostly average to above-average and well distributed rainfall

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • June 9, 2020
The season is progressing well with mostly average to above-average and well distributed rainfall

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) continues its northward migration but has been slower than usual during the month of May.

    • The Sudanian-Guinean zone received mostly well distributed above average rainfall in May, resulting in continued favorable conditions for crop growth and development.

    • The end of the long season (March to July) rains in the bi-modal zone is nearing and the harvest is expected to be average to above average

    • Given the favorable medium-term forecast, sowing/planting is expected to expand northward into the northern part of the -Sahelian zone as usual.

    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) has been progressing northward and is now located between 13-14 degrees of latitude north, slightly behind its climatological position during the last dekad of May.  Despite a lag of about 2 degrees over most of the region, the ITF progressed for short periods of times past its average dekadal position, resulting in light to moderate rainfall in locations north of its current dekadal position.  As a result, sowing activities have been possible in the southern part of the Sahelian zone.
    • The Guinean and Sudanian-Guinean zones where the growing season is well under way, have received mostly above average (Figure 1) and well distributed rainfall (Figure 2).  As a result, moisture conditions have been adequate and favorable for continued growth and development of crops over the bi-modal and Sudanian-Guinean zones where rainfall is ongoing.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from CHC/UCSB, rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward normally and no significant dry spells are expected within the next two weeks.  This forecast combined with average to above average and well distributed rainfall observed so far favors an average to above average harvest in the Guinean and the southern part of the Sudanian-Guinean zones.

    • The NOAA-CPC Northern American Multi-Model Ensemble (NMME) seasonal forecast for the next several three-month periods (June-August, July-September and August-October) all generally predict average to above average seasonal rainfall conditions over most of the region.
    Figures May total rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2009-2018 mean: Mostly above average across the bimodal zone and Su

    Figure 1

    Figure 1.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    May 2020 longest dry spell (days): Most of the bimodal region only 0-2 days, with the Sahel having 12-14 days

    Figure 2

    Figure 2.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET


    Figure 3


    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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