Drought is generally considered an extended period (season, year or several years) of de cient precipitation compared to the long-term average for an area that results in water shortage for some activity, group or environmental sector (National Drought Mitigation Center (NDMC), 2008). It is thus important to monitor precipitation levels in order to ensure a proactive response and effective early warning.
Precipitation levels for May 2016 were analysed and compared to levels at the same time the previous year and the long-term average (precipitation levels over the last 15 years). The maps below show these results, with red indicating below normal precipitation (getting darker as the levels decrease) while higher than normal levels are shown in blue (getting darker as the levels increase).
The results of the analysis indicate that rainfall in May 2016 was slightly lower than the previous year in selected areas of Syria, Iraq, and Turkey and also below the 15 year long-term average for the month of May. Selected areas with marginally higher precipitation
include the populated coastal areas of Syria, Northern Lebanon, and Southern Iraq. The higher precipitation values should not have an impact on crops development anymore as the main winter crops of wheat and barley have been harvested in May. Overall, the past three months have shown below normal rainfall in many of the areas, starting with Syria. As we are now in the dry season for the region, any impact on summer crops development (vegetables, fruit and fodder crops) depends largely on availability and access to irrigation.