As of August, in the core period of the rainy season, West Africa continues to be characterised by variable conditions. Rainfall patterns over the past month reflect a trend observed since the beginning of the season, with the persistence of drier than normal conditions in the western parts of the region (except for northern Senegal, western Mauritania, Burkina Faso and western Niger), while wetter than normal conditions prevailed over the eastern parts (LCB, northern Cameroon, and Chad). Despite an increase in rainfall during the month of August, which led to flooding in many areas, rainfall deficits persist over some areas in the western parts of the region (western, southern and central Senegal, south-eastern Mauritania, western Mali) as well as in eastern Guinea-Bissau extending into southern Guinea and Sierra Leone.
Overall, in west Africa, the rainy season has so far (between 1 May and 31 August) been characterised by mixed conditions. Over the western part of the region (central Senegal, south-western Mali, Guinea, Sierra Leone, south-eastern Mauritania), average to below average rainfall was received since the beginning of the season. The central parts of West Africa, including western Niger, central and southern Nigeria, and south-western Cameroon, have experienced a below normal rainy season. Conversely, the easternmost parts of West Africa (including the Lake Chad Basin, Chad and eastern CAR), as well as parts of the region’s centre (Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire) and north-west (coastal areas of Senegal, western Mauritania) received above average cumulative rainfall since the beginning of May 2022. From late July, rainfall over the region has increased resulting in a significant decline of the overall rainfall deficits. However, the distribution over time and space has been erratic in some areas. Erratic seasonal rainfall since early May has resulted in average to below average rainfall totals in south-western Mali, western Niger and central Nigeria, as well as in parts of central Senegal and south-eastern Mauritania. These deficits may have negative impact on crop and pasture development over areas where dryness has persisted for a very long time, or which have experienced an erratic spatial and temporal distribution of seasonal rains (such as northern and central eastern Senegal, central southern Mali, western Niger and central Nigeria). Meanwhile, heavy rains have led to flooding and landslides over many areas (Mali, Ghana, Chad, Nigeria). Flooding was reported in Senegal, causing fatalities and The Gambia damaging properties. In Sierra Leone, heavy rainfall resulted in landslides, with causalitiesreported in Freetown.
As a result of the of rainfall improvement, since late July, a markedly above average vegetation cover extends over much of the Sahel across Mali, north-eastern Burkina Faso, Niger, Chad, northern Nigeria and southern Mauritania. Meanwhile low vegetation recovery can be observed in some areas over the Sahel region (over northern and central eastern Senegal, central southern Mali and western Niger), due to early rainfall deficits
The short-term forecasts indicate that by late September (30 September 2022), seasonal rainfall will likely be mostly above average for the West Africa region, except for southern coastal areas (southern cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, south-western Cameroon, south-eastern Nigeria and Liberia), as well as northwestern Mauritania. Drought will likely be most pronounced in southern coastal Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, and south-eastern Liberia. This might partially offset the rainfall deficits in parts of the Sahel (central and northern Senegal, southern Mauritania, western Mali, western Niger) and lead to more favorable agriculture and pastoral conditionsin these areas. However, for the countries of the Gulf of Guinea this deserves close monitoring.
Source: World Food Programme