Delayed, below-average rainfall across most of Somalia at the start of Deyr 2020 season
Across most of the country, 2020 deyr rainfall has yet to commence effectively. The rains are delayed and performing poorly, particularly in northern and southern regions. According to preliminary Climate Hazards Group InfraRed Precipitation with Station data (CHIRPS) and confirmed by ground information, most areas received 5-25 millimeters (mm) of rainfall during the October 11-20 period. Meanwhile, large parts of Bay, Bakool and central regions received relatively higher rainfall amounts of up to 75 mm (Figure 1). In comparison to the 1981-2018 average, cumulative rainfall ranged from 10 mm to 50 mm below average across most southern regions and parts of the North (Figure 2). Although CHIRPS imagery indicates rainfall is generally climatologically average in the rest of the North, field reports suggest deficits could be more significant. In central regions, cumulative rainfall is average to above average. Most riverine districts show low flood risk levels, but river water levels in Beledweyne and Jowhar towns are at high-risk levels according to SWALIM's October 21st river station monitoring data. Despite the elevated risk, there are no reports flooding so far.
In the Northwest, the deyr rains, which usually begins in early October, have yet to commence effectively. Most livelihood zones in Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed, Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag regions received little to no rain in the October 1-20 period. Field reports suggest only a few, localized areas of Zaila and Lowaydo of Awdal, Hawd Pastoral livelihood zone of Burao and Buhodle of Togdheer, and Northern Inland Pastoral (NIP) and East Golis of Sool and Sanaag periodically received brief, light to moderate rain. Pasture and water availability and access is declining, which is leading to a decrease in livestock body conditions, productivity, and market value, especially in Togdheer, Sool, and Sanaag pastoral livelihood zones.
In the Northeast, the deyr rains have yet to start effectively across most livelihood zones of Bari, Nugaal, and northern Mudug. In Bari, most of NIP, Coastal Deeh Pastoral and Fishing, and East Golis Pastoral livelihood areas experienced little to no rainfall. Exceptions included parts of NIP and East Golis livelihood zones, which did receive localized light showers in early October. In Nugaal and northern Mudug regions, most areas were also dry during the first ten days of October, while light to moderate rains fell in parts of Hawd and Addun pastoral zones. In the second 10 day-period ending October 20, most livelihood zones received little to no rainfall, except in parts of Hawd Pastoral zone of Burtinle and Galkayo of Mudug region where average rainfall fell. Generally, pasture and browse conditions are below average in many areas of these regions.
In the central regions, early and localized, light to moderate rainfall occurred in the first ten days of October. Then, the deyr season became established with light, average rains in most livelihood zones during the October 11-20 period. Field information indicates that substantial amounts of rainfall fell in Central Cowpea Agropastoral of Harardhere and Elder and Coastal areas of Elder. The rain is positively impacting pasture and browse regeneration, access to water, and emergence and germination of cowpea crops in most Central Agropastoral livelihood zones.
In the South, most regions experienced erratic rainfall or dry conditions during October 1-20 period. In contrast, some early, moderate to low rainfall occurred in most livelihood zones of Bay and Bakool, localized pastoral, agropastoral, and riverine areas of Hiiraan, and pastoral and agropastoral (Sorghum High Potential) areas of Lower and Middle Shabelle. In the October 11-20 period, which typically marks the onset of the deyr, most livelihood zones – especially in Juba, Shabelle, and Gedo regions as well as riverine and agropastoral areas of Hiraan – were mostly dry. Conversely, most livelihood zones in Bay and Bakool, Sorghum Agropastoral and Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zones of Shabelle, and Southern Inland Pastoral livelihood zone of Hiraan received moderate rainfall. In the October 1-20 period, rain gauge stations recorded 84 mm in Baidoa (Bay), 50.4 mm in Dinsor (Bay), 127 mm in Hudur (Bakool), 12.5 mm in Beletweyne (Hiiraan), 0 mm in Jamame (Lower Juba), and Sakow (Middle Juba). Although it early in the season, the observed poor performance of the deyr rains in most agropastoral livelihood zones of Hiiraan, Juba, and Gedo could negatively affect crop production prospects in the South. According to SWALIM river water levels, most river points in Juba and Shabelle are below moderate flood-risk levels. However, river levels at Beledweyne and Jowhar were at high flood risk as of October 21st, measuring 7.35 meters and 5.38 meters, respectively. There are no reports of flooding so far.
The satellite-derived eMODIS Normalized Vegetation Index (NDVI) for the October 11-20 period shows large deficits in the South and in localized areas of Central and Northeast, which is attributed to the delayed, poor October rains. The Index also shows a surplus in large parts of the North, especially in parts of the Northwest and central regions, due to the previous *gu *rains in the north and *gu *and *deyr *rains in central Somalia (Figure 3). Due to the moderate-to-heavy rainfall recorded in parts of southern and central regions during mid-October, vegetation conditions are likely to improve within the coming weeks. The NOAA Climate Prediction Center's forecast through October 30 predicts moderate to heavy rainfall ranging from 20 to 100 mm across most southern and central regions and the Nugaal region of the Northeast. However, most of the country's northern parts are expected to experience little to no rainfall (Figure 4).