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Mostly normal start of season with average to above-average, well distributed rainfall

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • May 8, 2020
Mostly normal start of season with average to above-average, well distributed rainfall

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Partner
    Key Messages
    • The onset of the March to July long season rains occurred normally in early March in the bi-modal zone and has been gradually expanding northward to reach parts of the southern Sahelian zone in late April.

    • The bi-modal zone and the southern part of the Sudanian-Guinean zone received mostly well distributed above average rainfall in April, resulting in favorable conditions for crop growth and development.

    • Given the favorable medium-term forecast, sowing/planting is expected to expand northward into the Sudanian-Sahelian zone, as usual, in May and June.

    Update on Seasonal Progress
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) is the leading edge of the monsoon system that brings rain to West Africa during summer.  During the past month the ITF’s northward migration has been generally lagging but very close to its climatological position (Figure 1). It was positioned between 10.0 at 25 degrees of longitude East and 12.8 degrees of latitude at 5 degrees of longitude East in late April.
    • The region has received mostly above average rainfall (Figure 2 and Figure 3).  As a result, moisture conditions have been adequate and favorable for the development of planted crops over of the bi-modal and Sudanian-Guinean zones where rainfall is ongoing.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward normally and no significant dry spell is expected within the next two weeks.  The ITF is expected to progress at a normal pace in its northward migration during this time period.

    • 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 ITF position at the third dekad of April : Below average

    Figure 1

    Figure 1.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    April total rainfall estimate (RFE) in mm: normal rainfall across the bi-modal zone

    Figure 2

    Figure 2.

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Rainfall estimate (RFE) anomaly compared to the 2009-2018 mean: Mostly above average throughout the region

    Figure 3

    Figure 3.

    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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