Somalia Gu 2021 Rainfall Forecast and Weather Update

Rainfall Outlook
Title Language: 
Equal chances of average, enhanced and depressed rains expected during the Gu 2021 season. According to the March to May 2021 seasonal forecast issued by IGAD Climate Prediction and Application Center (ICPAC) during the Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF57), there are equal chances of receiving either above average, average or below average rainfall amounts in most parts of Somalia. The three-month outlook favours a similar situation for the eastern Ethiopian highlands which are responsible for most of the flow in the Juba and Shabelle rivers in Somalia. A few pockets in Puntland within Bari and Sanaag regions will receive enhanced rains during the season. Warmer than usual season is expected in the northern areas while relatively cooler conditions are likely to occur in the southern parts of Somalia. In contrast, forecast from FEWS NET’s science partners (NOAA/CPC, NASA/GFSC and CHC) indicates: (1) cumulative rainfall during the March-June 2021 long rains/Gu season in Somalia is most likely to be below-average in Somalia, (2) Gu season rainfall onset is likely to be poor or delayed, and (3) there is an increased likelihood that the rainfall amounts will be widely below average in May, which may signal an earlier-than-normal end of the rainfall season. Given the above seasonal rainfall forecast, all sectors should be prepared for both best and worst case scenarios. However, a pessimistic forecast should be considered for humanitarian response planning during Gu 2021. SWALIM and partners will closely monitor the situation and provide shorter timescale forecasts throughout the season.  Sunny and dry weather conditions characterized by higher than average daytime temperatures prevailed over most parts of the country since December 2020. The unusually dry period is as a result of the poor Deyr 2020 rainfall season in many parts of the country. The areas in northern and central Somalia worst affected by poor rainfall during the 2020 Deyr (October-December) season are currently experiencing mild to moderate drought conditions, leading to water shortages and high water prices. The local authorities in these areas have initiated water tracking activities with Sanaag, Bari, Nuugal and Mudug areas being worst affected by the water shortage. The Juba and Shabelle river levels are very low at this time of the year. Parts of the middle and lower reaches of the Shabelle River are reportedly dry leaving insufficient flow to support irrigation along the river. Whether this drought condition deteriorates to a full-fledged drought or improves will depend on the timeliness, amount and distribution of the forthcoming Gu season rainfall. A more detailed downscaled outlook will be released in the coming days by national inter-ministerial meteorological working group (IMMWG) of Somalia. The downscaled outlook is expected to cover sectorial impacts and advisories for the coming season.
Access conditions: 
Date of publication: 
March, 2021