Horn of Africa to face above-normal rainfall and higher-than-normal temperatures: forecasters predict

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Juba, South Sudan (KAAB TV) – The IGAD Climate Prediction and Applications Centre (ICPAC) has issued its June to September 2024 seasonal forecast, predicting an increased likelihood of above-normal rainfall over most parts of the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA).

This forecast suggests a wetter-than-normal period for Djibouti, Eritrea, central and northern Ethiopia, western and coastal Kenya, much of Uganda, South Sudan, and Sudan. However, parts of northern Somalia, isolated areas of western Ethiopia, and north-western South Sudan are expected to experience drier-than-normal conditions.

The forecast also indicates an early to normal onset of rains in several regions, including central and northern Ethiopia, Eritrea, Sudan, and South Sudan. Conversely, a delayed onset is anticipated in Djibouti, parts of eastern and western Ethiopia, central and western Sudan, and southern South Sudan.

Temperature predictions for the same period show a high probability of warmer-than-normal conditions across the region, particularly affecting northern Sudan, central and western Ethiopia, Somalia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, and Tanzania.

Dr. Guleid Artan, ICPAC’s Director, emphasized the heightened vulnerability of the Greater Horn of Africa to the adverse impacts of climate change.

“The Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) stands as a region that is highly susceptible to the adverse impacts of climate change, which pose significant challenges to the resilience of our communities. The forecasted wetter-than-normal conditions for June to September 2024 echo the patterns of 1998 and 2010, highlighting the level of impact especially for South Sudan and Sudan, which may experience impacts of floods,” he stated.

Dr. Artan highlighted the importance of early warning systems in mitigating the effects of extreme weather events.

“As we observe these recurring extreme climate events, it is important to acknowledge the pivotal role played by early warning systems which serve as key instruments of preparedness, guiding us through climate variability. Through our operations, ICPAC continues to provide actionable climate information that is relevant and key for Early Action,” he added.

In accordance with guidelines and recommendations from the World Meteorological Organization, ICPAC has implemented an objective seasonal forecast method to generate climate forecasts for the Greater Horn of Africa.

The seasonal forecasts, initialized in May 2024, were derived from nine Global Producing Centres (GPCs).

These forecasts, along with their hindcast data, were analyzed to produce a probabilistic outlook indicating the likelihood of above-normal, normal, or below-normal rainfall for the upcoming season.

The climate patterns predicted for the JJAS 2024 period closely resemble those observed in 1998 and 2010, years that experienced significantly wetter-than-normal conditions across much of the region. This resemblance raises concerns about potential flooding, particularly in South Sudan and Sudan, where the impacts of above-normal rainfall could be profound.

As the region braces for these climatic changes, the emphasis remains on preparedness and early action. ICPAC’s forecasts are integral to guiding regional authorities and communities in planning and response strategies to mitigate

Potential impacts

The anticipated weather conditions could have far-reaching consequences for agriculture, water resources, and public health. Above-normal rainfall may benefit agricultural production in some areas, potentially improving food security. However, it also raises the risk of flooding, which can damage crops, displace communities, and spread waterborne diseases.

In urban areas, increased rainfall can lead to flooding and overwhelmed drainage systems, affecting infrastructure and daily life. Rural areas, particularly those with less resilient infrastructure, face heightened risks of flood-induced displacement and livelihood disruptions.

ICPAC’s forecasts serve as a crucial tool for national governments, humanitarian organizations, and local communities to prepare for and mitigate these potential impacts. Early warning systems and proactive measures, such as strengthening infrastructure, pre-positioning relief supplies, and conducting community awareness campaigns, are essential steps to enhance resilience.

Dr. Artan reiterated the importance of regional cooperation and support.

“Collaboration among the countries of the Greater Horn of Africa is vital to effectively respond to and manage the forecasted climate impacts. Shared resources, knowledge, and coordinated efforts will significantly enhance our ability to protect vulnerable populations and sustain development gains.”

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