Monthly precipitation totals for March were below the long-term average (LTA) of 2001-2016 in many parts of Lebanon. In particular, below average rainfall was received in crop-growing North and Akkar governorates, south-central parts of Mount Lebanon governorate and in most of Bekaa and Nabatiye governorates. The same areas also had less rains than the same month last year; particularly large deviations could be seen in the western slopes of mountains in Akkar governorate where rainfed agriculture is dominant. In contrast, large parts of crop growing BaalbekHermel governorate received higher amounts of monthly precipitation compared to the levels in March 2016.
Planting of the 2017 winter grains (wheat and barley) was completed in January with harvesting expected from mid-June. The ASI shows gradual increase in moisture stress throughout March in Bekaa governorate, the first stress signs for this cropping season. By the last dekad of the month, 40-70 percent of cropland areas of Bekaa, which are predominantly sown under cereals, were affected by moisture stress. Decreased vegetation cover could also be depicted in Baalbek-Hermel, particularly in the first and last dekads of March, with 25-40 percent of cropland areas being affected by moisture stress. Conversely, gradual increase of healthy vegetation cover is depicted in eastern parts of North and Akkar governorates.
Please note that the ASI is based on remotely sensed data only; there is no confirmation on what crops have been planted.