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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

09 December 2010

Africa Update #7

East Africa remains dry as what should have been the wet season draws to a close. Meanwhile in the south, heavy rainfall is causing rivers to rise, but promises a good cropping season. Mozambique remains the most affected country, but Zambia, Zimbabwe and Malawi have also seen in excess of 150 mm (6 inches) of rainfall just in the last week. Across the north, a few frosts are likely.

Drought continues to plague East Africa. No rainfall arrived in Ethiopia or Somalia during the last week. In Kenya, only along the Tanzania border and near Lake Victoria did any precipitation fall. Whatever harvest may have been hoped for, it will not arrive. The earliest chance of significant rainfall will be in March across parts of Kenya and April for Somalia and Ethiopia.

In the south they are having the opposite problem, too much precipitation, and it is expected to stick around for the duration of the season. This will be beneficial, but may cause localized flooding. Flooding is also going to be possible from rivers rising above their banks when heavy rains fall upstream. Crops may have to be replanted as seeds and younger plants get washed away. Injuries and fatalities are also likely. Heavy endless rainfall may also deny people the ability to weed and take care of other field work. Less sunshine may also cause problems for crops, which need both sunshine and moisture. Cyclonic activity is expected to increase during this season as well, posing the largest threat towards Mozambique and Madagascar.

Rainfall came down to quickly across central Mozambique and nearby areas of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. For the past week rainfall totals exceed when any part of East Africa has received for the total season. There was likely flooding across all three of these countries, however only in Mozambique is there the potential for widespread problems as a result of last weeks rain. Next week will likely be quieter in the south, with the exception of the Maize Triangle in South Africa. That is not likely to be as heavy as last week, and as you can see in the image above, South Africa generally did not receive an excess of rainfall during the past week.

No widespread freezes during the next week in the north, however there will be a few frosts on the highest elevations of the Atlas Mountains in both Morocco and Algeria. The Egyptian and Libyan deserts may also have some frost in the early morning hours during the next seven days.

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