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16 June 2011

Africa Update #34: Rains Continuing to Fail in Chad

Precipitation has been terrible in Chad, and nearby areas of surrounding countries, mainly Sudan and Central African Republic. Light rains this past week in far western Africa have provided some opportunity for field work, while rainfall continues to improve across Ethiopia. The active pattern in northern Africa continues to bring rain to the Maghreb.

Chad continues to be the epicenter of poor rains in Africa. All of the crop producing areas in the country are suffering with less than 70% of normal rainfall to date this season. Many areas have less than half their normal rainfall. Eastward in southern portions of West Darfur and far northern Central African Republic a similar story is unfolding. Precipitation is desperately needed in these areas as drinking water supplies, livestock and crops are all suffering due to a lack of moisture. Eastern Niger, northern Nigeria and northern Cameroon are all also contending with the same drought, although it is not as severe in these areas.

Further east dryness concerns are fewer, as most areas are experiencing a surplus of rainfall. Only two areas, eastern Niger and central Senegal are of serious concern. These two areas are also in need of better rains, and are likely having to contend with the same kind of problems now occurring in Chad. The past week saw rainfall suppressed across west Africa, in areas that are running a moisture surplus, this is a good thing, by allowing rivers and streams to recede before bursting their banks, and also allowing farmers to get some field work done.

In the east, Ethiopia continues to break with the poor rainfall trend in the east, as precipitation has been abundant and well distributed since April. Meanwhile usually heavy rainfall, for this time, of year fell in much of Somalia, Djibouti and Eritrea. Also doing well, weather wise, is the Maghreb where rainfall has also been plentiful and consistent.

Next week will likely bring lighter rainfall across all of Africa, as global forcing look like they will take over and reduce the amount of rainfall in Europe and Africa.

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