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05 August 2011

Africa Update #41: Rain Still Insuffiecent in much of the Sahel

From Niger and Niger eastward to North and South Sudan, moisture continues to be erratic and insufficient. In the east, The Gambia and Sengal are also struggling to receive enough moisture, and that dryness extends southward along the coast. Heavy precipitation over the Central African Republic is the exception to this dry trend. Here flooding, especially in low lying areas is likely. The Ethiopian highlands continue to receive steady rainfall.
A strip extending from western Niger to the southeast across most of Nigeria into parts of Cameroon and Chad as well as North and South Sudan, is stressing crops, degrading pastures and reducing drinking water availability. I've been talking about this region a lot, and for a period there it seemed like the region had reached a stable point, where moisture deficits were neither rising nor falling. I absolutely considered that an improvement, but the situation has changed, and with the exception of Chad, deficits are begining to rise again across the region.

Chad has been on the outer edge of heavy rainfall that has moved into the Central African Republic (CAR). That rainfall has caused some problems within CAR, especially in the north. I have not yet seen anything in the news about the heavy precipitation, but it is very much possible that localized flooding has occurred in Vakaga, Haute-Kotto and Bamingui-Bangoran Prefectures. There may also be some flooding just slightly over the Chad border from these prefectures.

In the far west Senegal, particularly in the Ground Nut Basin, and nearby areas of The Gambia have not received sufficient rainfall. These moisture stresses are mild compared to those further east. Of even less concern, but still worth watching, is the ongoing coastal dryness from Guinea-Bissau  around to Cote d'Ivorie.

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