The Department of Water Resources (DWR) has released the July-August-September 2021 seasonal rainfall forecast, showing ‘higher’ chances of water to be received than a normal ‘below’ rainfall.
The Department of Water Resources annually publishes the report primarily to guide local farmers ahead of cultivation.
The report also serves as weather advisories and early warning systems to planners in various rainfall-sensitive areas to enhance early warning systems against climate hazards systems in The Gambia.
“Annual rainfall amount is predicted ‘very likely to be normal to ‘likely below normal in the country. However, most places in the country are predicted to experience normal annual rainfall with the highest amount above 700mm expected in the western sector of the country. Amount in the range of 600-650mm is likely over the rest of the country,” the report indicated
The predicted 2021 rainfall values would therefore be normal over large areas of the country. The latest figures indicate a 25% chance of above-normal rainfall, a 45% chance of near-normal rainfall, and a 30% chance of below-normal rainfall.
“Put in simpler terms, this means that the chance of having normal rainfall is higher than the chance of having a below normal rainfall,” it added.
The report further indicates that the 2021 rainfall season is expected to undergo more variability than the 2020 season with early to normal unset, late withdrawal of rains, and long medium-dry spells.
“Accordingly, this department will undertake to provide weekly climate and short to medium range weather forecast to anticipate impacts of intra-seasonal climate events better.“
Beginning of the farming season (onset)
The Gambia being an agrarian economy where rain fed-agriculture is predominant, rainfall onset for the commencement of farming season is crucial as it affects the establishment of crops, agricultural production, and subsequent national economies.
“The early arrival of rainfall associated with monsoon is more likely than climatology over parts of the country. In 2021, The Gambia is expected to see rainfall onset between 9th June and 18th June. These days are expected to generally early up to 2 weeks over large parts of the country. Judicious use of these predictions in planning agricultural activities will lead to safe sowing and enhanced crop and food production” the report further indicated
2020 and 2021 Seasonal Predictions
“Comparing 2021 seasonal rainfall outlook with that of last year, we expect to have ‘good precipitation’ but will ‘NOT’ be as much as that of 2020 rainfall quantity,” said Tijani Bojang, a Meteorologist at the Department of Water Resources
He said rainfall onset for 2021 would ‘not likely consistent,’ especially during June and parts of July 2021 as an interlude of dry spells is expected to occur.
“An enhanced precipitation will most likely occur in August and September,” he said.