This bulletin reviews the March 2019 climate conditions over the Greater Horn of Africa (GHA) region and highlights the May 2019 rainfall and temperature forecasts together with the socio-economic impacts associated with both the observed and the forecasted climate conditions. There are six sections in this bulletin. The major highlights from both the observed and expected climate conditions are outlined in Section 2. Section 3 discusses the climate patterns that prevailed in the month of March 2019, while the dominant weather systems are discussed in Section 4. In Section 5, the May 2019 climate forecasts over the GHA are presented. The socio-economic impacts associated with the observed climatic conditions and those expected from May 2019 climate forecasts are outlined in Section 6. For referencing within this bulletin, the GHA is generally divided into three sub-sectors: The equatorial sector lying approximately betweenoN and 5 oS latitude, while the northern and southern sectors lie in the north and south of the equatorial region respectively.
Rainfall was recorded in several parts the southern sector and southern part of the equatorial sector, and in few places in south-central and southwest part of the northern sector of the GHA. Several places in equatorial sector, and a few places in southern and eastern part of the northern sector, and eastern part of the southern sector of the GHA recorded rainfall that was below normal. Much of the rest of the GHA recorded near normal rainfall, except for northwest Ethiopia, northeast Kenya, and central and southwest part of Tanzania which recorded above normal rainfall, during the month of March 2019 (Figure 2 and 3). Several parts of the equatorial sector and southern sector of the GHA recorded maximum and minimum temperature warmer than the climatological mean. Most of the northern, western, and southeast part of the northern sector of the GHA recorded maximum and minimum temperature that was cooler than the climatological mean for the month of March 2019. Some areas in the equatorial sector of the GHA reported continued dry conditions following depressed rainfall in the September to December 2018 short rain season, which has led to water stress related impacts. The general rainfall condition in the southern sector of GHA resulted in the improvement of water and pasture conditions which might increase prospects of good crop, and livestock productivity. By March 2019, the Oceanic Nino Index (ONI), a primary index used to monitor the El Nino-Southern Oscillation (ENSO) had a positive signal (Figure 7a) denoting an El Nino condition. The Indian Ocean Dipole (IOD) indicated a weak positive index (Figure 7b).The ONI and IOD are forecasted to persist in positive and neutral phases respectively over much of the second quarter of 2019.
In the month of May 2019, rainfall is expected to be concentrated over much of equatorial sector, southern part of the northern sector, and northern and eastern parts of the southern sector of the GHA (Figure 8a).