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August 2017 Climate Summary

Rainfall during August occurred mostly in the south western and southern areas of the province (slide1).  When viewing the latter against the historical long term (slide 2) then mainly the southern coastal areas result in at least normal to above normal rainfall.  Conversely, the West Coast, Cape Winelands and Karoo regions clearly received below normal rainfall.    

Slide 1


Slide 2


Slide 3 represents data from about 35 weather stations, depicting total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for August 2017, including corresponding historical long term means.  Rainfall in August on average appeared below normal. The overall mean rainfall for August 2017 (calculated as the average of mentioned weather stations) was 29mm, indicating about 40% less than the long term mean and 7mm more than last month’s figure.  Half of the weather stations each recorded a total monthly rainfall of ≤ 20mm, of which 3 weather stations indicated ≤1mm to no rain.  The highest monthly rainfall (69 to 89mm) were recorded at Fleurbaix (Stb), Heidelberg, George and Rawsonville.  While the rainfall recorded at three weather stations exceeded the corresponding long term means, the rest performed less than the long term means.


Above normal monthly temperatures during August were minimal (slide 3).  Monthly temperatures appeared slightly lower than the long term average, about -0.5 degrees (Celsius) less.  The monthly mean Tmax of the various weather stations ranged between 15.4 (Koue Bokkeveld) to 23.1 degrees (Klawer) resulting in an overall average of 19.3 degrees, all comparing well with the long-term averages.   Citrusdal recorded the highest anomaly at 1.6 degrees, followed by Worcester and Oudtshoorn, anomalies both prevailing at 1.1 degrees.  The lowest monthly mean Tmin was recorded at Murraysburg (-0.8 versus long term mean 0.1 degrees) while the monthly Tmin averaged 5.7 ºC for the weather stations, which was similar to the long term average.  


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Slide 3

Slide 3

Due to the persistent poor rainfall over most of the province, the overall water level of the provincial state dams remained about half of last year’s figure (slide 4).  On the 4th September the overall water content of these dams was 33% (last year 61%).  The lowest levels were observed in the Karoo regions, starting at zero (last year levels prevailed between 30 – 50%), while the dams more to the west of the province increased from about mid 20’s to mid 30’s (last year 50 – 100%).  The water content of dams in the southern coastal areas remained reasonably similar to previous months, i.e 40 – 70% (last year 60 – 100%).

The limited rainfall in the south western parts brought partial relief to the drought stressed winter crops, thereby restoring growing conditions (slide 5) to some of these areas.  However the rest of the province remains in a poor state of extreme drought conditions. 

Currently ENSO remains neutral, however La Nina could occur in the following months which implies increased probability for rainfall in the summer rainfall areas.  According to SAWS forecasts released on 31 August, above normal rainfall is less possible during spring (Sep-Oct-Nov) within the western side of the country.

Slide 4


Slide 5


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Agri-Oulook April 2017

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