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Weekly Updates: Africa | Asia | Latin America

10 June 2011

Africa Update #33: Dry Corridor Developing in West Africa

A swath of Africa, centered on Chad has been dry all season long. Ethiopia's long season is progressing well, especially in the north around Lake Tana. Meanwhile northern Africa continues a good growing season with sufficient rains, some of which have caused minor complications to the Libyan Civil War, although it does not seem to be playing a major role.

Rainfall remains below normal in an area stretching from Niamey, Niger to northern Cameroon to Darfur, Sudan. That includes much of northern Nigeria, northern Central African Republic and all of the crop producing parts of Chad. The insufficient precipitation has been a problem since about the start of the preseason rains in early May. Moisture needs to increase in this area soon, or the only recourse will be to grow short cycle crops, assuming precipitation improves later in the season. Westward from these locations rains remain plentiful. Ignore Liberia-Sierra Leone on the above map, that is a known problem with this product.

In Ethiopia precipitation has remain strong, in sharp contrast to the failed long rains in the east. Northern areas especially have had steady rainfall that has benefited the whole region. Rivers that run out of the Ethiopian Highlands should be running at normal to slightly high depths, This is helping the regions they run through, especially in drought riddled parts of east Africa.

Northern Africa has been having a great crop growing season. Moisture has been at or above normal in Morocco, Algeria, Tunisia and Libya. The ongoing civil war in Libya has only been slightly complicated by the rains.

The same rainfall pattern is likely to continue into next week. The only significant difference will be in the dry areas of eastern West Africa, which could have a slight improvement.

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