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October 2016 Climate Summary

The Western Cape received most of its rainfall in the southern coastal areas while poor rainfall (red and orange areas implying respectively less than 6mm and 11mm) was experienced in most of northern territories of the province (slide 1).    

A similar interpretation is obtained when comparing the month’s rainfall against the historical long term means (slide 2), meaning extremely below normal rainfall (red areas indicating 25% of the long term) in the northern areas.  The rest of the province also revealed below normal conditions though not that severe compared to the previously mentioned areas.

slide 1


slide 2



Slide 3 summarizes data from 34 weather stations which take into account total monthly rainfall, mean monthly maximum (Tmax) and minimum temperatures (Tmin) for October 2016 including corresponding historical long term means.  Rainfall less than 2mm were recorded in the Central Karoo and parts of the West Coast districts.  While some weather stations indicated limited better rainfall conditions, these figures remained poor compared to the long term mean rainfall for October.   In addition half of the weather stations recorded monthly total rainfall equal to or less than 7mm.


Monthly mean Tmax recorded at the same weather stations varied between 20.8 to 29.3 ºC, which indicated to be reasonably similar to the long term.  On the other hand monthly mean Tmin ranged between 6.0 to 12.4 ºC which averaged about 1 ºC lower than the corresponding long term, ranging between 6.7 to 13.0 ºC.  Furthermore Tmax anomalies ranged between 2.1 to -2.6ºC, while Tmin anomalies ranged between -3.9 to -0.2 ºC.  


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slide 3

Slide 3

As for extreme monthly mean temperatures, De Keur and Prince Albert experienced respectively the lowest Tmin and highest Tmax in the province during October 2016.

Slide 4 illustrates a summary on the state of provincial dam levels averaging 60% (last year 69% and 2014 ±88%) at the end of October, which is also a decrease from the previous month’s level.  The water content of the Floriskraal Dam was only 13% and the Stompdrift Dam 25%.   

The map illustrating growing conditions (slide 5) indicate decreasing photosynthetic activity (changing from green / white to red patches) in the Murraysburg area as well as large areas of the Little Karoo.


slide 4

Slide 4

slide 5

Slide 5

Climate predictions

The latest forecast (slide 6) currently reflects weak La Niña conditions, which can continue during DJF but which can possibly return to neutral status within months next year.  Current seasonal forecasts (slides 7) for DJF favour low probability for above normal rains for the Western Cape.  Temperatures forecasts (SAWS) indicate some probability for above normal temperatures in the Western Cape.  Again due to the high uncertainty in forecasts, users are advised to regularly review updated medium and short term forecasts to identify any intermediate change.

slide 7

Slide 6

slide 8

Slide 7

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Agri-Oulook March 2016

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