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January 2019 Climate Summary

Poor rainfall was experienced for January over most of the province (slide 1).  The eastern half of the province which normally receives summer rain did not get its fair share rain for January this year.  When comparing rainfall with the long-term means (slide 2), the Central Karoo and Eden clearly showed extremely below normal rainfall (<50% of long term average, note orange to red shading).  The western side (West Coast and adjacent areas) which is normally dry in summer, experienced limited and isolated rains thus bringing somewhat relief to parts of this area.

Data obtained from 37 weather stations (slide 3, total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum and minimum temperatures and historical long term means (LTM), supplied by ARC Soils, Climate and Water) substantiates the below normal rainfall in the province for January.  Nearly half of these weather stations recorded less than 5mm rain, of which seven received no rain at all, appearing mostly in the Karoo and Matzikama regions.  The highest rainfall (31mm, ±40% of the long-term mean) was obtained at George, compared to last year’s 89mm.

The monthly maximum temperatures (Celsius) of the various weather stations (slide 3) presented an overall mean (30.2 degrees) which was about one degrees below normal, ranging between 24.1 degrees (George) to 35.3 (Prince Albert) degrees.  The highest monthly Tmax anomaly of +1.7 degrees was recorded at Murraysburg, followed by Oudtshoorn’s anomaly of +1.2 degrees.

slide 1


slide 2


As for the monthly mean minimum temperatures (slide 3), the Tmin at all the weather stations (attaining an overall mean of 14.8 degrees) performed less than normal (±1 degree less than LTM), ranging between 11.9 (Koue Bokkeveld) to 18.9 degrees (Prince Albert).  The greatest monthly Tmin anomaly (-2.4 degrees) was recorded at Clanwilliam.

The water content of state dams dropped from the previous month’s overall figure of 53% (31 December) to 48% on 28th January (slide 4).  The decrease was mainly affected by the larger dams situated more to the western side of the province.  The water content of dams in the Karoo regions remained extremely critically low and in some cases even empty.

As for agricultural growth and production conditions in the province (slide 5), the effect of the continuing dry period is noted in the case of the Karoo regions and northern parts of the West Coast (extensive red shading).  Slight regrowth is occurring in the lower parts of the south western parts of the province (note light green patches) which could possibly be a response to the recent rains in those areas.

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slide 3

Slide 3

slide 4


slide 5


The latest seasonal forecasts (slides 6 & 7) indicate that the southern coastal areas (blue shading) could result in possible rainfall during the following months, unfortunately at relatively low levels of skill.  Since slide 6 precedes slide 7, conditions seems to be evolving towards a more positive signal for rain in the southern coastal area.  But then the follow-up ROC maps (slide 7) still persistently indicate poor levels of skill.  

slide 6


Slide 7


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Agri-Oulook January 2019

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