February 2016 Climate Summary

The Western Cape received most of its rainfall (25mm+) in the Overberg and coastal areas of Eden (slide 1).  Although The West Coast and most of Cape Winelands and Central Karoo experienced less than 10mm during February, large parts actually indicated less than 5mm.  By comparing the rainfall during February to the historical long term means (slide 2) we note that more than half of the province received below normal rains.  The West Coast and large parts of the Central Karoo received up to 25% of its normal rains.  Conversely the southern coastal areas received between 125 to 200%.

Slide 1


slide 2


Slide 3 contains data representing 37 weather stations consisting of total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for February 2016 and long term means.  From the above description we expect weather stations situated in the southern coastal areas, including Oudtshoorn, to indicate above normal rains.  Half of the weather stations received less than 5mm of rain during February this year.


The average Tmax (calculated from the separate monthly means of the 37 weather stations) during February this year (slide 3) was 0.5ºC higher compared to the calculated combined long term figure.  Note that the latter long term figure was 1.5ºC lower than in the case of January.  The monthly Tmax means for February 2016 ranged between 25.5 (George) and 36.0ºC (Prince Albert).  The average Tmin of 15.2ºC indicate an average overall decrease of -0.3ºC compared to calculated combined long term figure.  The monthly Tmin means ranged between 12.2ºC (Misgund) and 19.6ºC (Prince Albert). 

Download Slide 3 PDF

slide 3

Slide 3

The overall dam level of 38% (29th February) decreased by 8 percentage points from the previous month’s figure (slide 4).  The Floriskraal Dam recorded the lowest water content at 8%.

Plant growing conditions (slide 5) remained similar compared to last month: poor in the West Coast and Central Karoo due to current dry conditions, and above normal along the southern coastal parts due to the continuous rain in that area. 

Slide 4

Slide 4

slide 5

Slide 5

Climate predictions

ENSO still showed a strong El Niño presence (slide 6 map) while the following months still indicated ENSO progressing towards neutral status by June 2016 (slide 6 graph). Should the latter progress further to La Nina status, it would imply an improvement in rainfall conditions for the summer rainfall regions. 

As customary practice, the updated SAWS forecast have been included (slide 7) but will not be discussed due to SAWS’s media release “The forecast shows a huge disparity in the rainfall and temperature forecast for the coming seasons, therefore the direction of the forecast is not clearly manifested.”  Accordingly “it is highly recommended that medium- and shorter-range weather forecasts be monitored for the development of conditions that may alter or strengthen the expectation of the current forecast.”

The CCAM forecasts (slide 8) predict that the period April to June could experience normal rains in the western half of the province, changing to below normal rainfall towards the east.  In the case of temperatures (Tmax and Tmin), slight anomalies (-1 to +1ºC) are pointed out, however normal temperatures are forecasted for the period April to June this year. 

slide 6

Slide 6

Slide 7

Slide 7

slide 8

Slide 8

Links to images / maps / tables

  1. Monthly rainfall map
  2. Rainfall versus long-term mean map
  3. Climate data
  4. Dam levels
  5. NDVI map
  6. International ENSO conditions and forecasts
  7. SAWS Climate Forecasts
  8. 8. CCAM Climate Forecasts

Download PDF Version of this information (Booklet February 2016.pdf)