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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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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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Flood Alert

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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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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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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 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 22-05-2019

The last week saw increased rainfall activities in most parts of the country which however did not last for long. The Ethiopian highlands also recorded good amounts of rainfall which saw sharp increases in the river levels along the Juba and Shabelle Rivers in Somalia. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days indicates light rains in a few pockets of Somaliland while moderate to heavy rains are foreseen in the southern regions. The cumulative seven days rainfall forecast shows that the southern regions as well as the Ethiopian highlands will continue to receive moderate rains until the end of the week. Other parts of Puntland and central regions are expected to receive little or no rains during the coming week. It is worth noting that the Gu rainy season started late in Somalia, and the rainfall amounts recorded so far are significantly below normal, with poor temporal and spatial distribution. More rains are required to reverse the damage that has been caused by the poor rains. With no significant rains foreseen until the end of the season, the existing situation may deteriorate further in all the water dependent sectors.

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 03-05-2019

The Gu 2019 rainy season started late in many places across the country and have so far been characterized with low amounts of rainfall, poor temporal and spatial distribution. However, a few places are yet to receive the much awaited rains. Moderate rains within the Ethiopian highlands led to a gradual increase in river levels inside Somalia, which are still significantly below normal at this time of the year. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days indicates moderate rains in the southern regions with little or no rains in the rest of the country. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the week which ends on 09 May 2019 shows moderate rains across the central and southern regions of Somalia and within Ethiopian highlands. Light rains are expected in Puntland and Somaliland regions during the forecast period.

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Rainfall Forecast

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Somalia 2019 Gu Season Rainfall Update - Issued on 22 May 2019

The 2019 Gu (March/April-June) season rainfall season was marked by a delayed start in most parts of the country. The distribution of the rains have been poor in terms of quantity, temporal and spatial distribution throughout March and May. The month of May saw increased rainfall activities in the first half of the month with some stations recording moderate to heavy rains. Although this comes very too late for most crop growing areas, the rains in May led to replenishment of pasture and ground water sources in most of the pastoral areas that have been affected by moderate to severe drought since January 2019. Exacerbated by below-average 2018 Deyr (October-December) season rainfall, the cumulative 2019 Gu season rainfall is way below the long-term average and not sufficient to fully address the water shortage across Somalia. As a result, Mild to moderate drought conditions are still present in many areas across the country. An update will be issued every 10-days throughout the remainder of the season.

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Dekadal Rainfall Update

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Somalia Rainfall Forecast: Issued 06-05-2019

The temporal and spatial distribution of the Gu 2019 rains continue to improve across Somalia. The rains started late in April, with many places across the country recording low rainfall or remaining dry to the end of the month. The situation has however improved over the last few days, especially in the southern parts of the country where moderate rains have been recorded in some stations. The Ethiopian highlands have also received moderate to high rains over the last two weeks, resulting to gradual increase in River levels along Juba and Shabelle. With the current steady rise, the river levels are expected to reach the normal level for this time of the year within the coming one week. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the next 3 days indicates light to moderate rains in many parts of the country, apart from Bari Region and the coastal areas of Somaliland where little or no rains condition is foreseen for this period. The cumulative rainfall forecast for the week which ends on 13 May 2019 shows moderate rains across the country, and less rains along the coastal areas of Somaliland and Bari Region. Moderate to high rains are foreseen in the Ethiopian highlands. As a result, the Juba and Shabelle River levels are expected to continue rising in the coming week.

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