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November 2018 Climate Summary

Rainfall during November (slide 1) brought relief to the southern parts (greener areas of the Overberg and Eden), while the West Coast and Central Karoo experienced poor rains (0 to 5mm, indicated by red shading).   When comparing rainfall with long-term means (slide 2), note that normal (green to light blue) to above normal (blue) rainfall conditions appearing mostly in the southern coastal parts.  However extremely below normal rainfall remained dominant in the province (red shading).

Data depicting monthly rainfall of 37 weather stations in the Western Cape (slide 3) averaged out to about half of the normal rainfall.  As expected, towns along the southern coast experienced normal rains (e.g. George, Heidelberg, Mossel Bay, ect.) while the drier areas predominantly in the northern parts revealed poor rainfall, i.e. in the Central Karoo (i.e. Prince Albert, Rietbron and Murraysburg) and the West Coast (e.g. Klawer, Clanwilliam and Elands Bay).

In commencing towards summer, monthly maximum temperatures (Celsius) during November (slide 3) slowly increased (averaging 27.8 degrees) within long term average limits (27 degrees).  Individual Tmax’s ranged from 21.5 (George) to 33.1 (Sandveld) degrees; latter also experienced greatest anomaly of +2.97 degrees, though Oudtshoorn, Clanwilliam and Murraysburg, ect. also indicated anomalies >2 degrees.  The monthly mean minimum temperatures for November were slightly below normal (averaging 11.5 vs. long term of 12.1 degrees).  Tmins ranged between 8.5 (Murraysburg) to 14.9 (Prince Albert) degrees, again both these figures being slightly lower than their long term counterparts.  In addition the most extreme monthly Tmin anomaly of -2.84 degrees was recorded at Citrusdal.

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On the 3rd December the overall water content of state dams for the province was 59% (slide 4), dropping six percentage points from the previous month, due to poor rainfall.  Water level of dams in the Karoo regions remain poor, though dams in the southern coastal areas indicated a slight increase.

Photosynthetic activity in the form of agricultural production remained poor in most areas (slide 5) due to persistent below normal rains.  Large extent of these conditions remained present in the Karoo and northern parts of the West Coast in the form of below normal plant veld growth depicted as orange to red shading.  In addition recent wild-fires, including those that occurred in the southern coastal parts, have clearly left burnt scars (red areas).  Moreover winter cereal crops have entered maturity, some already harvested, previously depicted as viable green areas, were now replaced by orange-red areas in the current slide.  This progression is especially observed in the Rûens.

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Slide 3

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The latest seasonal forecasts do not present a clear sign of rain for the Western Cape during the following months, it is hoped that the next round of forecasts will generate greater chance for much needed rain.  

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Agri-Oulook October 2018

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