Heavy rainfall recorded in December and January (Figure 1) across Southern Africa has caused water-logging and localised crop losses in parts of the sub-region, particularly in Lesotho and across the Zambezi basin. The torrential rains have resulted in elevated river levels, with many regions remaining on alert due to increased possibility of further flooding in downstream areas. However, vegetation conditions, based on satellite images, indicate generally good crop development, benefitting from favourable precipitation during the first half of the rainy season.
Despite the severe localised damage, overall prospects for the 2011 cereal crops in the sub-region are still satisfactory. However, the final output will depend on rains over the next two months, prior to the start of the main harvest, and the development of cyclones in the Indian Ocean. Current forecasts for the subsequent two months indicate a continuation of normal to above normal rains across most areas of the sub-region, but heavier rains are expected in the Zambezi river basin. This forecast is consistent with La Niña conditions, which tend to be associated with above-normal rains in Southern Africa. FAO/GIEWS will continue to closely monitor crop development and potential weather hazard.
Published by: Relief Web
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