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April 2018 Climate Summary

The province experienced a somewhat dry April this year (slide 1).  Poor to no rainfall (≤10mm) occurred in large parts of the Central Karoo, Eden district, as well as the northern region (Vredendal – Bitterfontein area) of the West Coast district.  The south western parts of the province (metropole, southern areas of the West Coast and the western side of the Cape Winelands) as well as the Murraysburg area received higher rainfall (≥50mm).  In comparison to April last year the dry parts in the centre of the province for this year were more extreme in terms of area and intensity, while rains in the West Coast seemed somewhat more promising, especially in the south, i.e. rain over larger areas and increased rainfall along the mountains right into the adjacent districts (≥50mm).  In terms of the long term mean (slide 2), most of the province were subjected to below normal rainfall while the south western and north eastern parts of the province received normal to above-normal rains. 


Slide 3 contains data representing 38 weather stations consisting of total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for April 2018 and historical long term means.  Rainfall for April averaged below normal, i.e. overall mean of these weather stations averaging 19 mm (LTA 30 mm versus 15 mm in 2017).  Half of the weather stations each recorded a total monthly rainfall of ≤13 mm (same in 2017, but 23 mm in 2016).  The highest total monthly rainfall in 2018 (72 mm) and 2017 (46 mm) were recorded at Murraysburg while the 2016 figure of 78 mm was noted in the Ceres region. Accordingly the trend indicates April 2018 being a better month in terms of improvement in rainfall compared to April 2017, but conditions still remained below average.

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As for temperatures (slide 3): April experienced normal Tmax (Celsius) at 25.9, ranging from 22.5 (Ceres area) to 30.0 degrees (Citrusdal).  Monthly mean of early morning temperatures (Tmin) for April obtained from the weather stations resulted in a normal monthly overall average of 11.7 degrees, with Tmin’s ranging from 7.8 (Murraysburg) to 14.1 degrees (Prince Albert).


The below average rainfall in April resulted in the overall water level of provincial state dams on 30th April (slide 4) remaining unchanged at the extremely low level of 16%.


Poor veld conditions over most of the province remained a major concern (slide 5), though there seemed to be a slight improvement, due to emerging green areas within specific areas, in for instance the Central Karoo and West Coast.  Veld growing conditions in the Overberg, Cape Winelands and Eden have however seemed to deteriorate even further.

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slide 3

Slide 3

slide 4


slide 5


The latest forecasts (slide 6 & 7) on overall presented above normal rainfall conditions for the Western Cape during the following winter months, however supported by low confidence levels (ROC area maps).  

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Agri-Oulook MApril 2018

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