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March 2018 Climate Summary

When comparing the rainfall of March this year to March 2017 (slide 1 for March 2017 & March 2018 reports) then March 2018 seemed more positive.  In the case of 2017 it can be seen that rainfall occurred mostly in the 0-10 mm category, while for 2018 the rainfall was predominantly between 10 to 25 mm.  In addition, the southern coastal areas in both cases received more rains, though conditions in 2018 were clearly better.  In comparing March 2018 and March 2017 to their respective long term means (slide 2 for 2018 & 2017), then 2018 again indicated increased rainfall, notably above normal conditions in the Matzikama and parts of Eden and Central Karoo districts. 

Slide 3 contains data representing about 35 weather stations consisting of total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for March 2018 and historical long term means.  Rainfall for March on average was reasonably normal, i.e. overall mean of these weather stations averaging 18mm (LTA 20 mm, versus 5 mm in 2017).  Half of the weather stations each recorded a total monthly rainfall ≤15 mm (3 mm in 2017).  Conversely, a third of the weather stations exceeded their monthly long term means, of which the highest was recorded at George (105 mm versus LTA 54 mm, 32 mm in 2017).

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As for temperatures (slide 3): March experienced slightly lower monthly Tmax (Celsius), i.e. overall average of 27.6 degrees (LTA 29.1), ranging from 23.2 (George) to 32.2 degrees (Citrusdal).  Monthly mean early morning temperatures (Tmin) for March obtained from the weather stations resulted in a normal overall average of 13.5 degrees, with Tmin’s ranging from 13.3 (Murraysburg) to 16.7 degrees (Prince Albert).

Overall water level of provincial state dams on 2nd April (slide 4) was 17% which showed a further decrease compared to that of the previous month (21% on 26 February).

Veld growing conditions over the whole province remained a major concern (slide 5), which deteriorated further due to the poor accumulated rainfall of the past season.

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slide 3

Slide 3

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The latest forecast from Seasonal Forecast Worx indicated that the previous forecast (Feb report) of below normal precipitation are no longer that obvious (slide 6 & 7).  

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Agri-Oulook March 2018

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