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Despite favorable forecasts, rainfall at the beginning of the season is generally below average

  • Seasonal Monitor
  • West Africa
  • May 30, 2024
Despite favorable forecasts, rainfall at the beginning of the season is generally below average

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  • Key Messages
  • Update on Seasonal Progress
  • Forecasts
  • Seasonal Calendar
  • Key Messages
    • The Intertropical Front (ITF) began its northward migration in late March. As of early May, it was located slightly south of its climatological position in the western (14W to 0E) and eastern (10E to 25E) segments. However, across southern Niger, its position is very close to the climatological position (Figure 1).
    • This delayed northward migration has resulted in mostly below-average to average seasonal rainfall totals over most of the bimodal and sudano-Guinean zones (Figure 2 and Figure 3). These conditions resulted in sufficient moisture levels for crops, except Sierra Leone and south Guinea, where the rainfall deficit is very severe.
    • Over the bimodal and Sudano-Guinean zones, total rainfall amounts (Figure 2) are mostly below-average to average (Figure 3), with localized areas of above-average rainfall.
    • Agrometeorological conditions have generally been favorable for crops in the bimodal zone.

    Update on Seasonal Progress

    Figure 1

    Current vs Normal Dekadal ITF position and May 1st dekad accumulated RFE (mm)
    Current vs Normal Dekadal ITF position and May 1st dekad accumulated RFE (mm)

    Source: NOAA/CPC/NCEP

    • From May 1-10, the ITF stayed at or moved southward of its previous position, except at the western tip near Guinea, where it advanced northward. The western segment (10W-10E) of the ITF was situated around 13.1 degrees north latitude, which is 0.6 degrees below its climatological position. Similarly, in the eastern segment (10E-25E), the ITF was located at approximately 9.6 degrees north latitude, positioning it 3.0 degrees below the long-term average.
    • Over the bimodal zone, total rainfall amount is mostly average to above (southeast Ghana, south Togo, and the northern east of the Centre region of Cameroon).
    • In the Sudano-Guinean zone, where the season is just starting, average to above-average rainfall is observed in areas such as, central Togo and central to north Benin, northwestern Nigeria and Cameroon (North-west and South-west, major part of Adamaoua, Littoral, north Centre and north East regions).
    • Rainfall analysis shows that moisture conditions have generally been adequate to favorable for the growth of planted crops in the bimodal zone and a major part of the Sudano-Guinean zone. Although there are some isolated areas experiencing rainfall deficits, it is still early in the season for these deficits to significantly affect crop growth and development.
    • According to the short and medium term forecasts from NOAA/CPC, rainfall is expected to continue expanding northward with no indications of a significant dry spell within the next two weeks. During this time, the ITF is anticipated to continue its usual northward progression, affirming the onset of rains in areas south of it.

    Figure 2

    1st pentad of March to 2nd pentad of May total CHIRPS (mm)
    1st pentad of March to 2nd pentad of May total CHIRPS (mm)

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET

    Figure 3

    Anomaly of 1st pentad of March to 2nd pentad of May total CHIRPS in % of average of the 1991-2020 mean
    Anomaly of 1st pentad of March to 2nd pentad of May total CHIRPS in % of average of the 1991-2020 mean

    Source: USGS/FEWS NET


    Forecasts
    • The seasonal forecast from NOAA-NCEP, C3S and WMO for the next three-month periods (June-August, July-September and August-October) predict average to above-average rainfall across most of the region. However, WMO forecasts below-average rainfall in isolated areas, including from south Ghana to Southwest Nigeria in July-September. The NOAA-NCEP forecast also indicates below average rainfall in Liberia, central Nigeria, southern Ghana, and north Cameroon.

    Seasonal Calendar
    West Africa Seasonal Calendar

    Source: FEWS NET

    Recommended citation: FEWS NET. West Africa Seasonal Monitor May 30, 2024: Despite favorable forecasts, rainfall at the beginning of the season is generally below average, 2024.

    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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