April rainfall poor across East Africa

Seasonal rainfall estimate anomalies, as percent of normal rainfall (1983-2009), March 1 - April 24, 2017

Seasonal rainfall has performed very poorly during the month of April in much of the Horn of Africa. During this time some of the worst drought-affected areas, including much of Somalia, northeastern Kenya, and southeastern Ethiopia, received little or no rainfall.

Could the situation improve?

The short-to-medium term rainfall forecasts indicate moderate to heavy rainfall is likely across the region during the next two weeks, except in extreme southern Somalia and the bordering counties of northeastern and eastern Kenya.

In Kenya, the March-May “long” rains have been delayed and cumulative rainfall has been well below average. Rains started to pick up in late April in areas of northern and eastern Kenya, but the delayed start has reduced the growing period for some key crops like maize.

In Somalia, the Gu rains typically start in April, but this year they were delayed. Rainfed crops in southern Somalia are likely to be harmed by the drought but irrigated riverine regions of Shabelle may be less affected. Meanwhile, the northern and central regions of Somalia are forecast to receive moderate to heavy rains in the coming weeks.

In Ethiopia, February to May Belg 2017 began in February in most of SNNPR and most Belg-producing areas of eastern Amhara and southern Tigray. Satellite based rainfall estimates suggest that rains have been near average in eastern Amhara (80-120% of normal) and somewhat below average in southern Tigray (less than 80%).

Information Source: FEWS NET 

Image Source: NOAA/NWS/CPC