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06 May 2011

Africa Update #28: GHA Drought may be Expanding

Poor rainfall totals in the Greater Horn of Africa appear to be spreading westward into some parts of the eastern Sahel. Meanwhile, early season rainfall continues to look good across most of west Africa, although some areas could use an increase in precipitation. Precipitation is hanging on longer than usual across Namibia and Angola, but generally winding down in the south. Morocco has had very heavy rain for the last week, causing flooding, with seasonable conditions across the rest of northern Africa.
Rain has been disastrously poor in eastern Africa. Even though there is precipitation now falling across the region, it is to sparse to meet the climatology. So even though rains are now widespread, the moisture deficit continues to rise. Also of concern is the fact that the dryness is spreading westward. In addition to the already parched Ethiopia, Somalia, Uganda and Kenya; Southern Sudan (independent as of 9 July 2011) and Chad have had very poor early season rains. Central African Republic and Nigeria are also starting to show precipitation deficits as well. These new countries are not yet to the point of their eastern neighbors because the growing season has not yet started in the western countries, but they absolutely need to be closely monitored.

In the Gulf of Guinea region, with only the exceptions mentioned above, the preseasonal precipitation has started off very nicely.  Rains were better in April, however they now look more seasonable. Moisture will remain in the region over the next week.

Light, but unseasonable rain has remained in Angola and Namibia beyond the end of the season. These rains are unlikely to cause any significant problems, and should finish pulling out of the region over the next seven days.

A strong cold front moved through Morocco last week, likely causing some isolated flooding in the Atlas mountains. I am having a hard time confirming that however, as the bombing in Marrakesh seems to be the only news coming out of Morocco as far as I can tell. Lighter rains continue in Algeria, Tunisia, and Libya. Rains should ease in Morocco for the next week.

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