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May 2019 Climate Summary

Rainfall in general remained below normal especially in the western parts of the province, occurring more in May than during April, resulting in the continuation of below normal veld and crop production conditions.  State dams in the province regained an overall water content of 33% by the end of the month, about 50% more than last year.  The likelihood of rain during the following months seems more promising.

A large part of the province experienced below normal rainfall, stretching from the western to south eastern regions, while normal to above normal rains occurred in the eastern side of the Central Karoo (slide 1).  Data obtained from individual weather stations (slide 2) in some instances indicated improvement in rainfall within the various regions, while others remained a major concern (i.e. Ceres, Oudtshoorn, Prince Albert and Riviersonderend).  The highest total monthly rainfall was recorded at Rawsonville (67mm versus the historical long term mean of 94mm).  Weather stations located at the department’s research farms at Oudtshoorn, Outeniqua, Tygerhoek and Elsenburg recorded monthly total rainfall less than the corresponding historical long-term means, while Lamberts Bay and Worcester indicated above normal rainfall. 


Temperatures continued in a downward phase as winter was commencing (slide 2), monthly mean maximum temperatures (Celsius) averaged above normal for May (i.e. overall monthly mean of 23.9 degrees, i.e. anomaly of +1.4 degrees), while the overall monthly mean minimum temperature appeared more normal.  Individual observations indicated that the highest monthly mean maximum temperature was recorded at Klawer (27.8 degrees), while the greatest monthly mean anomaly occurred at Clanwilliam (4 degrees).  Nine localities presented monthly mean anomalies of more than 2 degrees.  As for minimum temperatures, the lowest monthly mean was observed at Murraysburg (4.9 degrees), with the most extreme Tmin monthly mean anomaly (-1.4 degrees) occurring at Dunghye Park near Caledon.

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The overall provincial dam level was 33% on 3rd June, which was substantially more than the overall level of last year. 

Concerning current veld growth and crop 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 remained a major concern.  Conditions in the south western parts, i.e. the cereal crop production areas also deteriorated, due to the below normal rains.

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The seasonal forecasts (released June 2019) for rain (slides 4 to 6 covers June to October) indicate that the south western to southern coastal areas could benefit from above normal rainfall (blue shading) during the following months, which could even extend to the whole province during early spring.  The corresponding ROC maps (representing skill levels) do not support these forecasts. 

Then the forecast for maximum temperatures (slides 4 to 6, i.e. June to October) show dominantly above normal maximum temperatures (orange / red).  Note that skill levels, depicted by adjoining ROC maps, do not support the relevant predictions.  

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Agri-Oulook March 2019

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