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11 November 2010

Africa Update #3

The rains have shifted south. That is incredibly good news as this will allow the Sahel region to dry out, while at the same time bring moisture to areas in the south that should be receiving rainfall this time of year. The south has yet to make up all of its deficits, but the improvement is noticeable. Sadly this shift has yet to do anything to improve rainfall in east Africa, which has been parched thus far during the Short Rains. The Short Rains last from October to December.
The best weather news anywhere in the world right now is probably the end of the flooding rains in west Africa. Precipitation has become seasonable during the last week, and rivers have been able to drain down. Rainfall has moved completely out of the Sahel, as expected for this time of year. As of now, there have been no reports of large scale disease as a result of the flooding in Togo and Benin, however both Ghana and Nigeria are reporting cholera, diarrhea and dysentery. It will take months to clean up the mess left behind by the torrential rainfall in both the Guinea and the Sahel regions.

Rapid improvement reached into southern Africa with precipitation reaching the critical growing areas of South Africa, Zimbabwe and Namibia. Beneficial moisture also fell across Malawi, Mozambique and Zambia. With the exception of the Caprivi Strip, little to no rainfall was seen in northern Namibia and southern Angola. Much of the region is still facing season long deficits, however many areas of the south are now on an improvement trend. The wet season starts in October and lasts until May in the south, so there is still plenty of time to make up the deficits.
Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya have barely received any rainfall during the October to December wet season. This reverses a trend of unusually wet rainy seasons that have been observed across the region during the last year. There is no relief in sight and little hope for any revival of the season. Tanzania, Uganda and far southern Sudan have also been affected, although not quite as severely as Ethiopia, Somalia and Kenya. The cause of the poor rainfall remains the cold water off the coast, coupled with warm water near Indonesia. Until this arrangement breaks down, it is unlikely that significant rainfall will move into the region.

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