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25 March 2011

Africa Update #22: Rains Shift to the North

Rainfall this week showed the first strong northward shift of the rains this season. This is the start of the end of the wet season across southern Africa as moisture moves towards the eastern parts of the continent. By early May the rains will have ended across southern Africa.

With moisture beginning to pull out of southern Africa, the rains have broken up across many areas of South Africa, Lesotho, and Swaziland. Although it is not in the above image, western Kenya, which had a terrible rainy season for the October-December rains, has had a great start to this season. Similarly wet conditions have been reported in Uganda and Tanzania. The rains were heavy enough that some localized flooding did occur. Overall this a good sign for an on-time shift in the rains across both southern and eastern Africa.

Heavy, possible flooding rains have continued along much of the course of the Zambezi River, leaving the threat of additional flooding and stress along the dam system. Heavy rain also leaves the possibility of flooding in Namibia, Botswana, Angola, Zambia, the DR Congo and Malawi.

Light to moderate rains fell across Zimbabwe and Mozambique. This is a far cry from the amount of moisture that has been desperately needed in this area and it will not revive wilted crops, but it will provide some drinking water, and possibly improve pastureland for livestock, in the region.

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