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March 2019 Climate Summary

Good rains occurred in the southwestern & southern coastal areas.  Poor rain caused drought conditions to continue in the Karoo and Matzikama areas.  Response to good rains were experienced in dams sustaining at least current levels as well as veld conditions improving in the south western and southern coastal regions. Sufficient follow-up rains for the whole province remains a major challenge.

Normal to above normal rains occurred in the southwestern regions, the southern coast and the Cape Winelands (slide 1).  Rainfall statistics indicated that March experienced more rain than February (slide 2).  The highest rainfall of more than 100mm was experienced in the Overberg (slide 2). The Tygerhoek Research Farm obtained a monthly total of 299mm.  The drier areas between Heidelberg to George were also blessed with above normal rain (Riversdale 74mm, Mossel Bay 66mm and George 61mm).  Contrary to the southern areas, the northern parts of the West Coast including the Karoo regions received below normal rainfall (Vredendal no rain, Oudtshoorn 0.8mm, Prince Albert 11mm), resulting in no relief to these areas that have been subjected to extreme drought conditions. 

Monthly temperatures (Celsius) averaged reasonably normal for March.  The overall monthly Tmax of 28.2 degrees averaged 0.7 degrees less than the long term mean.  Some places indicated relatively high monthly anomalies (Murraysburg +2.36 degrees and Oudtshoorn +1.7 degrees).  The overall monthly Tmin was 14.7 degrees, averaging 0.6 degrees more than the corresponding long-term mean.  Most individual monthly Tmin’s performed more than their long term means - Ladismith resulted in a monthly anomaly of +2.1 degrees.

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slide 2


The provincial overall dam level (37% on 1st April) dropped 3 percentage points from the previous month.  In addition the current overall level is more than twice of the previous year’s figure. 

As for veld regrowth and production conditions in various areas of the province (slide 3), the effect of the continuing drought (expressed by the extensive red shading) in the Karoo regions and northern parts of the West Coast still exist.  On the other hand, the south western areas, including the southern coast indicate regrowth/recovery (green shaded areas) conditions due to the recent rains, especially in the Overberg area.

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slide 3


slide 4


The latest seasonal forecasts for rain (slides 4 to 6) indicate that the southern coastal areas could result in above normal rainfall (blue shading) during the following months.  Conversely the western side of the province indicate below normal rainfall (orange / red).  The forecast for maximum temperatures (slides 7 to 9) starts off with below normal (blue) changing as the season progresses to above normal conditions (orange / red).  Note that skill levels, indicated by various ROC maps, do not necessarily support the various predictions.  

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Slide 6


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Slide 8


slide 9


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Agri-Oulook March 2019

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