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December 2016 Climate Summary

The Western Cape in general received rains mostly in the southern and south western areas while the northern parts experienced mostly 5mm and even less (slide 1).

When comparing the month’s rainfall against the historical long term means (slide 2), the northern half of the West Coast, large parts of the Cape Winelands, the whole Central Karoo and large parts of the Little Karoo obtained 25% (red) to half (orange) of their normal monthly rainfall during December 2016. Less extreme below normal conditions appeared in the western and southern regions of the province.

slide 1


slide 2


Slide 3 summarizes data from 32 weather stations which take into account total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for December 2016 including corresponding historical long term means. Most weather stations recorded below-normal rains for December 2016, confirming that 16 out of the 32 weather stations experienced less than 6mm of rain. Although a few weather stations indicated reasonable rains, the overall rainfall (taken as average from the 32 weather stations) resulted in 40% of the long term average rainfall.

Monthly mean Tmax at the weather stations ranged between 25.6 to 36.7 ºC (long term average 21.5 to 31.7 ºC), revealing greater than normal Tmax’s for December 2016. Note that both top extreme Tmax figures (for 2016 and long term average) came from the Prince Albert weather station. The overall average Tmax (31.1 ºC) of the 32 weather stations was two degrees higher than the corresponding long term mean. Tmax anomalies ranged between 0.5 to 4.9 ºC, of which 18 of 32 weather stations rendered anomalies of at least +2 ºC, confirming the extreme above normal temperatures for December 2016. Oudtshoorn in this case scored the greatest anomaly for Tmax.


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slide 3

Slide 3

The monthly mean Tmin’s, taken from the same 32 weather stations, presented an overall average of 14.2 ºC (similar to the long term mean), ranging between 11.1 to 19.4 ºC (long term 11.6 to 18.3). The bottom extreme monthly mean Tmin for December 2016 came from the Sandberg weather station near Elands Bay. Tmin anomalies ranged between -2.3 to 1.3 ºC which indicate slightly lower Tmin’s during December 2016.

Slide 4summarizes the state of provincial dam levels which averaged 43% on 9th January 2017 (last year 51% and 2015 round about 70%). The result of the below-normal rains and above normal temperatures, including the presence of veld-fires can be observed in the decreasing plant activity (slide 5) which is more evident compared to the corresponding map for November 2016.

slide 4


slide 5


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Agri-Oulook December 2016

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