A slow start to the rains in East Africa is a growing concern, particularly in the countries that experienced the failure October - December rains. In the south, harvesting activities are now getting underway. Light showers may complicate the situation in Libya.
As the season in southern Africa is now wrapping up, I will be spending more and more time paying attention to eastern Africa. First, here is a recap on the south; rains were sufficient to excessive, depending on where you were. The only large scale dryness was in Zimbabwe and southern Mozambique. Large scale crop losses are likely in these areas. Moisture is now beginning to pull out of the region as the wet season comes to a close.
The rains have not started nearly as well as could have been hoped for, in eastern Africa, after the disastrous failure of the October to December rains. At the moment the area of critical concern is Ethiopia, mainly in the Somali and Oromia regions. This time of year is critical in southeastern Ethiopia, but the rains have not arrived. Of less concern, so far, is eastern Kenya, Somalia, Uganda and southern Sudan. All of these areas have accrued significant rainfall deficits since February and are not expected to have significant rainfall during the next week. Pasture for livestock and drinking water supplies across the region are already depressed due to the last seasons drought. With the drought persisting, and the independence of southern Sudan on 9 July of this year a food and water crisis is quite possible. Meanwhile seasonal climate models are not giving any indication one way or the other (favoring neither wet or dry) on the current wet season.
Rainfall in coastal Libya is adding to the complications with the civil war/rebellion/uprising taking place there. Additional light showers are possible all along the coast over the next week. These kinds of showers are typical along the coast, this time of year and will likely persist until June.