The forecast through April indicates that water deficits will downgrade in the southern half of the continent, becoming primarily moderate across the central breadth and mild in the south. Deficits in the north will increase and intensify, with moderate to extreme deficits in the Sahara and deficits reaching exceptional intensity in parts of the Sahel and into western Ethiopia. Intense deficits will linger in Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Surpluses will persist in western Tanzania.
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The forecast through March indicates that water deficits will persist on much of the continent, but the extent of exceptional deficits will diminish considerably. Moderate to severe deficits are forecast across northern and central Africa along with pockets of exceptional deficit. Anomalies will be intense in Nigeria, Sudan, Ethiopia, Somalia, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Lesotho. Mild to moderate deficits are forecast for southern Africa. Intense surpluses will persist in western Tanzania.
The forecast through February indicates that water deficits will downgrade considerably. However, areas with notably intense conditions include western Ethiopia; pockets of northern Somalia, Nigeria, and southwestern Cameroon; southwestern Angola into Namibia; and, Lesotho and the Orange River region of Northern Cape, South Africa. Surpluses are forecast for Tanzania, southern Congo into western DRC and northern Angola, and south-central Chad.
Exceptional water deficits in North Africa will diminish but persist, and severe deficits are forecast in Gabon and in Nigeria south of the Benue River. Deficits will also persist in western Zambia and are expected to be extreme on the Kafue River. Moderate to exceptional deficits will emerge in central Botswana. Exceptional surpluses will persist in Tanzania, Kenya, and northern Uganda, but diminish somewhat in northern Madagascar. Surpluses east of Kinshasa in Democratic Republic of the Congo are forecast to increase in both extent and intensity, becoming severe.
The forecast through May shows widespread, intense water deficits emerging across northern Africa. Liberia and the Horn of Africa will transition from deficit to near-normal conditions. In Gabon, deficits will downgrade but remain intense, while deficits in central and southern Africa downgrade to moderate. Deficits are also forecast for: Guinea Bissau, western Burkina Faso, northern Ghana, northern Ethiopia, eastern Central African Republic, and western and southern Madagascar. Surplus is forecast for Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, eastern South Sudan, southeastern Sudan, and southern Ethiopia.
A notable improvement is forecast for southern Africa and the Horn of Africa where conditions will transition from intense to mild water deficit. Intense deficits are, however, forecast scattered across the southern Sahara and the Sahel, and in a stretch from southern Democratic Republic of the Congo through eastern Zambia into Malawi. Deficits of varying severity remain dominant in many other regions, but surpluses are forecast for northeastern South Sudan and Tanzania, and will be exceptional in Tanzania. After April, severe deficits will emerge across northern Africa and will persist in Zambia.
Much warmer than normal temperatures are forecast in February for the US West, the Baja Peninsula, the Tibetan Plateau, and far northeastern Russia, including the Kamchatka Peninsula. Nearly all of India will be warmer than normal. Paraguay is expected to be cooler than normal. Eastern Brazil should see above average rainfall, as will central Mexico and western India.
With media attention focused on the dire water situation in Cape Town, South Africa - the city is currently expected to run out of water on 16 April - some of our followers are asking why our most recent blog post and maps didn't echo the alarm. Our 12-month forecast ending September 2018 shows merely "moderate" water deficits ahead for the region, something you'd expect to see once every 5 to 10 years. Certainly no alarming red blobs indicating "exceptional" water deficits, those that might occur only once in 40 or more years. How can that be, given the desperate and very real situation in Cape Town right now?
Most areas of exceptional water deficit will downgrade through March. Moderate deficits are expected across northern Africa, with more severe conditions in Morocco, Western Sahara, and Guinea-Bissau. Intense deficits are also forecast for southeastern Nigeria, southwestern Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, and Gabon. Intense deficits will retreat in southern Africa. Surpluses will linger in southern Sudan, northeastern South Sudan, Tanzania, northern Mozambique, and northern Madagascar. After March deficits in northern Africa will intensify, but south of the Sahara milder conditions will prevail.
The near-term forecast indicates continued improvement in water conditions in southern Africa as exceptional deficits nearly disappear. Intense deficits are, however, expected in Lesotho. Deficits are forecast across northern Africa including pockets of exceptional deficit in western Mauritania through Guinea-Bissau, scattered around the Gulf of Guinea, small pockets across the southern Sahara, and in southeastern Ethiopia. Surpluses are expected in southern Sudan, South Sudan, western Ethiopia, Kenya, Tanzania, western DRC, and western CAR into Cameroon. After February intense deficits will emerge in the north.