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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 13-03-2018

While the Gu season is yet to start in Somalia, light to moderate rains were reported in parts of Somaliland since the last week of February and first week of March. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands also recorded moderate rains during the last two weeks which led to slight increase of river levels along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers inside Somalia. Light rains are foreseen in a few pockets of Bay and Bakool regions as well as western parts of Somaliland and the Ethiopian highlands in the coming three days (Map 1). The rains are then expected to intensify in space and quantity towards the end of the week (Map 2). Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to rise with no risk of flooding. Users are advised that this is a forecast and at times there may be discrepancies between forecast and actual amounts of rainfall received.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 28-03-2018

The last few days saw light rains in some parts of northern and southern regions in the country. The three days rainfall forecast is pointing towards minimal rains with light showers expected in a few pockets of Sool, Gedo, Middle Juba and the southern coastal areas. The seven days rainfall forecast indicates increased rains both in the Ethiopian highland and southern regions of the country as the week progresses. Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to continue rising gradually in the coming week with no risk of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 16-03-2018

Most areas across Somalia remained dry over the last three days, apart from light rains reported in few pockets in Somaliland, and light to moderate rains in parts of Bay region. On 14 March areas surrounding Baidoa town reported some rainfall, while in Buur Hakaba 21mm of rain was recorded same day. The upper parts of the Ethiopian highlands continued to receive light to moderate rains over the last week. Minimal rainfall events are foreseen across Somalia in the coming three days (Map 1); while moderate to high rains are expected in parts of Bay, Bakool and Gedo Regions towards the end of the coming week (Map 2). Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to remain stable over the coming week with no risk of flooding.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 04-04-2018

The last few days saw increased rainfall activities in some parts of northern and southern regions of Somalia. The three days rainfall forecast points towards moderate rainfall in parts of Togdheer, W. Galbeed, Middle Juba and Gedo regions with light showers in a few pockets across the country. The seven days rainfall forecast indicates increased rains both in the Ethiopian highland and across Somalia as the week progresses. Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to continue rising gradually in the coming week with no risk of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia. Users are advised that this is a forecast and at times there may be discrepancies between forecast and actual amounts of rainfall received.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 21-03-2018

The Gu rainy season occurs in the period between March and June and is marked as the primary cropping season in Somalia. The season starts and ends at different times throughout the country. In the areas bordering Kenya, Middle Juba, northern parts of Middle Shabelle and the northwest corner of the country, the Gu rains starts as early as the second half of March. The rains then intensify in April all over the country. The length of the season also varies across the country from year to year. Minimal rainfall events are foreseen across Somalia in the coming three days with Gedo and Bakool regions expected to record moderate rains. The rains will then spread further in the other southern regions in the course of the week with light to moderate intensity. Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to remain stable over the coming week with no risk of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 23-03-2018

The last 24 hours saw light to moderate rains in a few pockets of the southern and central regions of Somalia. The three days rainfall forecast is pointing towards moderate rains in the southern regions and parts of Galduud and Muddug regions. The Ethiopian highlands may also receive moderate rains within the three days. The seven days rainfall forecast indicates increased rains both in the Ethiopian highlands and southern regions of the country as the week progresses. Given the rainfall forecast, the river levels are expected to continue rising gradually in the coming week with no risk of flooding along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia.

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Temporal Analysis of Shabelle River Water-levels as Seen from Very High-resolution Satellite Images

The Shabelle River which is one of the two perennial rivers in Somalia has had some sections of the channel getting dry for the third time in three years. The first being February and March 2016, then February and March 2017 and finally some sections dried early December 2017 to Mid-March 2018. The Gu rains are expected to kick off in late March and early April within the basin and this will see a rise in river levels. While there are many reasons behind the drying river bed, the main driver to this could be attributed to consecutive failed rainy seasons both in the Ethiopian Highlands and inside Somalia. Rainfall analysis indicates depressed rains during the Deyr seasons of 2015, 2016 and 2017. The poor rains, and increased agricultural water use led to significant reduction of river flow. Massive sedimentation on the river bed has also resulted in decreased water quantity and quality along Shabelle River. Some reports attribute the flow reduction to riverine activities in Ethiopia where the river originates. SWALIM has analysed the temporal river level status using observed river level data and very high-resolution satellite images taken on different dates in selected towns along the Shabelle River. The analysis of multi-temporal images performed by visual estimation of the water levels covers the period from January 2017 to January 2018. The most suitable cloud free images used are panchromatic black and white acquired by the World View 1 satellite. The readability of panchromatic images is more difficult, but generally water is displayed in a dark grey colour, while bare soil is represented by a light grey colour. In addition SWALIM analyzed the vegetation conditions using the Enhanced Vegetation Index (EVI) for December 2001 and December 2017. The selection of these two periods was informed by observation of similar rainfall/vegetation trends in the previous months. This analysis shows a great increase of active irrigated crops upstream (Belet Weyne) in 2017, a slight increase in Bulo Burti and clear decrease in Jowhar (downstream), which could be explained with a progressive increase of water abstraction upstream, affecting the Shabelle river level downstream.

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Somalia GU 2018 Rainfall Outlook

The Greater Horn of Africa Climate Outlook Forum (GHACOF) has confirmed a reduction of the chances of experiencing a La Nina event during the March to May rainy season. During the recent GHACOF, the March to May 2018 rainfall forecast for the region was released. According to the forecast, Gu 2018 season in Somalia is expected to be normal (40% probability of normal rains) with a tendency of 35 % probability of below normal rains in most parts of the country. This also includes part of the Ethiopian highlands which contribute significantly to both Juba and Shabelle river flow inside Somalia and all inland parts of the country. Further, Awdal , northern parts of Sanaag and Bari regions in the north as well as the southern coastal regions of Lower Juba and Lower Shabelle are expected to experience normal rains (40% probability of normal rains) with a tendency of 35% above normal rains.. The expected depressed rains in many parts of the country will only exacerbate the existing drought conditions. Togdheer, Sool , Nugal and Mudug regions will be worst affected owing to the prevailing drought conditions. Gedo, Bakool, Hiraan and parts of Bay will also be affected adversely by the below normal rains. This outlook is a consensus forecast designed for a regional audience that addresses the rainfall totals summed over the three-month period from March to May 2018. However, SWALIM and other technical partners will keep updating this forecast  for shorter lead time periods and will share with you through the regular bulletins throughout the rainfall season. For more information, please find attached the Somalia Gu 2018 rainfall outlook bulletin.

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Status of River Breakages Along Shabelle River as at August 2018

Recurrent flooding along the Shabelle River in Southern Somalia has been one of the key challenges for agencies involved in community development in the area. The Shabelle River is worst affected owing to the topography of the area, uncontrolled irrigation activities and poor river basin management following the collapse of pre-war flood control infrastructure. The Gu 2018 rainy season which was characterised by heavy rains inside Somalia and the Ethiopian highlands led to a significant increase of river levels subsequently leading to river flooding that caused agricultural and economic damage in the Shabelle river basin. SWALIM, has been involved in analysing and mapping the river breakages along the Shabelle River using very high resolution (sub meter) satellite imagery and a Digital Elevation Model (DEM) derived from earlier acquired aerial photographs having 3 meter resolution. Four types of breakages have been identified along Shabelle River namely; Open, Overflow, Potential and Closed. The open breakages are those that were still open during the month of July 2018. The Overflow, indicates points where there has been recent river spillage causing extensive flooding. The potential breakages represent points that have very weak river embankments or have experienced several breakages in the recent past. The closed breakages are those that were previously open but efforts have been made to close them either with sand bags or heavy machinery. The attached table provides locations of both Open and Overflow points along the Shabelle River which require immediate attention. A total of 50 Open points have been identified which is 100% increase from the previous assessment carried out in March 2018 (Refer to the attached table for estimated width of the open breakages). The sharp increase is due to the heavy rains of Gu 2018 rainy season that led to river breakages. 126 Overflow (Overbank river spillage) points have also been identified. The estimated cumulative length of the Overflow sections along the river bank is approximately 82.6 km whose calculation is derived from visible spillages and fresh sand deposits during the flooding period. Several other points, which are either potential or temporarily closed with sandbags, have also been identified. With the Deyr rains expected in October and November 2018, river levels will increase with a likelihood of flooding especially where open and overflow points have been identified. There is therefore an immediate need to close the open points and reinforce areas where there are weak river embankments. Maps of the status of river breakages, with detailed information, have been produced at large scale and hard copies can be obtained from SWALIM offices or by email request through swalim@fao.org 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 in some cases where satellite images were not available or may not have been very clear due to heavy cloud cover.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast 13-11-2017

The last 10 days have seen extremely heavy rains in some parts of southern and central regions of Somalia causing flooding and displacements in a few places. Bay region saw the heaviest amounts of rainfall with some station surpassing the annual average rains in a few days. Rainfall activities are expected to decrease in the coming week given the 3 days and one week rainfall forecasts. There remains a moderate to high risk of flooding in the middle and lower reaches of both Juba and Shabelle rivers where the river levels are currently very high.

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