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Flood Update for Middle and Lower Shabelle - Issued 05-09-2019

Observed river levels along the Shabelle River in Somalia remained above the average at this time of the year since mid August following moderate to heavy rains in the upper parts of Ethiopian Highlands. The levels at the upper reaches of the river inside Somalia (Hiraan Region at Belet Weyne and Bulo Burti) increased sharply over the last three weeks, but have started to decrease in the last few days. Current river levels in the mid and lower reaches (Middle and Lower Shabelle regions) are significantly above the normal levels at this time of the year with some sections at Mahadey Weyne, Jowhar and Balcad districs experiencing over spillage leading to floods. River levels along Juba are within normal for this time of the year.

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Flood Alert

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 27-09-2019

The Deyr 2019 rainy season (September-December) has kicked off in some parts of the country. Parts of the north eastern regions started to receive rains in mid-September. The last 24 hours also saw moderate rains in parts of the Gedo region in the south. The rains are expected to continue spreading in time and space during the coming weeks with the season scheduled to end in November and early December. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next three days indicates light to moderate rains in scattered areas of the country, especially within Sool and Sanaag regions. The rains will then spread further as the week progresses with more intensity in the northern areas. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands will also receive good rains towards the end of the week. Most parts of the south and central areas will remain dry in the coming week. Given the rainfall forecast and the existing high river levels along the Shabelle, there is a moderate risk of flooding in the middle reaches of the river. Areas to watch out for floods include Mahadey Weyne, Jowhar, and Balcad districts riverine areas where there exist several open river banks and weak river embankments.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 30-09-2019

The cumulative rainfall forecast for the coming week indicates moderate rains in the northern areas and parts of South and central regions bordering Ethiopia. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands will also receive good rains during the week. Given the rainfall forecast and the existing high river levels along the Shabelle, there remains a moderate risk of flooding in the middle reaches of the river. Areas to watch out for floods include Mahadey Weyne, Jowhar, and Balcad districts riverine areas where there exist several open river banks and weak river embankments. River levels along the Juba are expected to rise at the week with no risk of flooding.

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Flood Advisory for Middle and Lower Shabelle - Issued 21-08-2019

Observed river levels of the Shabelle River in Somalia have been rising for the past two weeks. This has been attributed to heavy rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands and localized rains in Lower Shabelle. The current Shabelle river levels at the upper reaches inside Somalia (Hiraan Region at Belet Weyne and Bulo Burti), are slightly above the normal range, while the mid and lower reaches (Middle and Lower Shabelle regions) are significantly above the normal levels at this time of the year. This has resulted in over bank spillage leading to riverine floods in parts Middle Shabelle. The ongoing assessment of river breakages along the Shabelle River using Very High Resolution (VHR) Satellite images, has identified several open points along the River, these open points continue to pose a threat of flooding and need immediate closure before the coming Deyr rainy season which is expected in October 2019. The river breakage analysis is being finalized and will be shared once complete. There is a high risk of flooding in the mid and lower sections of the Shabelle river especially in areas with open river banks. The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) is pleased to share with you a Flood Advisory for Middle and Lower Shabelle.

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Somalia Rainfall Outlook for Deyr 2019

The Deyr rains are usually shorter and less in quantity than the Gu rains. However, they are beneficial in supporting agricultural activities and boosting water availability for different uses. Generally the season starts in late September and ends in November/December. Nevertheless, this varies from place to place across the country with the northern parts usually receiving the rains much earlier than the southern parts. According to the recently issued consensus climate outlook for the Greater Horn of Africa (GHACOF53), the 2019 Deyr rainy season in Somalia is expected to be wetter than normal in most areas with warmer than usual temperatures across the whole country. The rainfall forecast indicates 45% to 55% probability of above average rains in the south, central and most parts of the northern regions. This also includes the Ethiopian highlands which contribute significantly to both Juba and Shabelle river flow inside Somalia. Some areas in the north western parts including Awdal, Woqooyi Galbeed and parts of Togdheer regions are expected to have normal to below normal rains as seen in Map 1. The regional forecast further indicates a possibility of a drier than normal month of September and a delayed start of the season in Somalia with dry spells of more than 10 days after the start of the season. The expected good rains will boost crop production and replenish pasture and water sources in most parts of the country thus reducing water stress significantly. This will bring relief to many parts of the country that had recorded below average rains during the 2019 Gu (April—June) and 2018 Deyr (October-December) rain seasons. Communities, government and intervening agencies are advised to take advantage of the expected good rains to harvest rain-water for the future using simple technologies. On the downside, riverine flooding along the Juba and Shabelle rivers is likely to occur especially in the middle and lower reaches of the two rivers. Existing open river banks and weak embankments can worsen the situation. Flash floods are likely to occur in low lying and built up areas. The expected below normal rains in the north western regions will lead to further depletion of pasture and water resources with high likelihood of mild to moderate drought conditions. Replenishing of the surface water points may be minimal and therefore communities should use the available resources sparingly. These areas are currently experiencing abnormally dry conditions following the poor performance of the last two rainy seasons. Conflict over the scarce resources cannot be ruled out. This is a consensus forecast designed for a regional audience that addresses the rainfall totals summed over the three‐month period from October to December 2019. Local and month-to-month variations might occur as the season progresses. Sporadic rainfall events leading to flash floods are likely to occur even in areas with increased likelihood of near to below normal rainfall. Also, dry spells might occur in areas where enhanced rainfall is foreseen. FAO, through SWALIM and its technical partners, will keep updating this forecast for shorter lead time periods and share updating information throughout the rainfall season.

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Rainfall Outlook

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Status of River Breakages Along Juba and Shabelle Rivers - Issued Aug 2019

The Food and Agriculture Organization’s Somalia Water and Land Information Management (FAO SWALIM) Project, has finalised the analysis and mapping of the river breakages along the Juba and Shabelle rivers using very high resolution satellite imagery. Breakages identified in the map have been classified into six different categories; Open, Overflow, Potential Overflows, Potential breakages, Closed with sandbags and Closed. A legend/Key for further explanation of the different types of breakages is provided here A total of 84 Open points have been identified, 39 on the Shabelle River and 45 on the Juba River which require immediate attention. Due to the low Gu rainfall, no new overflow points were identified as the river levels did not reach overflow threshold. However some overflows could be expected when river level rises above the normal rate. Several other points, which are either potential or temporarily closed with sandbags, have also been identified. The ongoing rains in the upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands have resulted to increased river levels in the lower reaches of the Shabelle River, causing floods in some areas of Jowhar and Balcad districts. With the rainfall outlook indicating above normal rains during the October - December Dery rain season, river levels are expected to increase with a likelihood of flooding especially where open and potential points have been identified. There is therefore an immediate need to close the open points and reinforce areas where there are weak river embankments. Temporary measures can be taken before the season begins. SWALIM is pleased to share with you maps and tables of the status of river breakages along the two rivers. Hardcopies can be obtained from FAO SWALIM offices. It is worth noting that the methodology is biased towards Remote Sensing (RS) interpretation with only limited “ground truthing” due to access constraints. Open breakages and overflows might have been omitted or classified as potential in some cases where satellite images were not available or may not have been very clear due to heavy cloud cover and dense vegetation cover.

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Somalia GU Rainfall Performance-Issued on 19 July 2019

The Overall 2019 Gu season rainfall performance was normal to below normal in terms of amount but highly erratic and poorly distributed. The rains started a month late in most areas leading to a prolonged dry period in some areas and moderate drought conditions in others especially during March and April. The last half of May saw increased rainfall activity, including heavy storms that lasted a few hours and distributed within a period of less than ten days during the whole season. Some places received more than 200mm of rainfall especially in the southern regions and a few pockets of Somaliland which is normal for this season. Bari region and the east parts of Sool and Sanag regions in the north recorded the least amounts of rainfall of 30 to 75 mm.

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Rainfall Performance

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 06-06-2019

There were increased rainfall activities across the country during the last few days of May and first three days of June. Heavy rains which led to flash floods were reported in Puntland. Some stations recorded more than 50mm in a single day. The Southern regions also recorded moderate rains during the last week of May. The rains came as immediate relief following a prolonged water stressed period. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days indicates light rains in the northern coastal areas of Puntland and Somaliland. The rains will then spread further inland as the week progresses but with lesser magnitude compared to the previous week. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands will also receive good rains towards the end of the week.The central regions and large parts of southern regions except Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle will remain dry in the coming week save for the coastal areas of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 09-05-2019

The Gu 2019 rains continued to spread across Somalia over the last few days. Many stations especially in the south have recorded light to moderate rains in the past three days. In the central and northern regions there were scattered rains, while in the Ethiopian highlands moderate to high rains were received over the same period. River levels along Shabelle continued with gradual increase, while the levels along Juba river started to decline after a sharp rise the previous week. Both Shabelle and Juba river levels are currently still below the long term mean for this period of the year. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days (Map 1) indicates light to moderate rains across the entire country, apart from the northern coastal areas where no rains are foreseen. The southern coastal areas are likely to receive moderate to high rainfall in the next three days. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the week which ends on 15 May 2019 shows moderate rains across the country. Along the southern and central coastal areas, and some selected places in Sanaag, Togdheer and Bari regions, the forecast indicates moderate to high rains in the coming week. Moderate to high rains are also foreseen in the Ethiopian highlands (Map 2). As a result, the Juba and Shabelle River levels are expected to slightly increase in the coming week.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 28-05-2019

The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days indicates light to moderate rains in the coastal areas of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle regions. Moderate to heavy rains of more than 50mm cumulatively are expected in Sool and parts of Nugaal regions in Puntland starting from 29 May 2019 with a moderate risk of flash floods in built up and low lying areas. The rains are expected to spread further in space and intensity as the week progresses with good rains expected in many areas across Somaliland and Puntland towards the end of the week. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands will also receive good rains towards the end of the week. The central regions and large parts of southern regions except Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle will remain dry in the coming week. Insufficient soil moisture is a primary factor limiting crop, forage and pasture growth in Somalia. The temporal distribution of the seasonal rainfall is paramount compared to the total quantity rainfall in the season. The Gu rains of 2019 has seen unreliable short spans of rain storms across the country which are not dependable to the water dependent sectors, the crops and pasture require some rainfall to remain productive. For instance, some stations have recorded only one day of rainfall since the start of the season with some exceeding 50mm in the one day rainfall. Such rainfall is rendered ineffective for crop and pasture growth while it would be effective for rainwater harvesting and refill of surface water reservoirs.

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