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September 2019 Climate Summary

Limited rains in September brought temporary relief to the dry eastern parts of the province.  The overall level of state dams retained the overall water content of 66% at 30th September.  Veld and crop conditions did not indicate any relief.  Current forecasts indicate possibility of rain in the following months in the south western parts, though concern remains with regard to the drier and warmer regions still subjected to below normal rainfall and above normal maximum temperatures.

Compared to the poor rainfall of August, rains in September improved more in the eastern side of the province (i.e. Central Karoo and Klein Karoo above-normal, southern coast normal) but it did not rain in excess (slide 1).  The western districts received round about half of its normal rains.  Rainfall monitored at various weather stations (slide 2) indicated that the highest monthly total rainfall (76mm) for September was recorded at Mossel Bay, with George in second place at 58mm.  Conversely, nearly a third of the weather stations recorded less than 10mm rain. 

Slide 2 also revealed that the province experienced rather above normal monthly mean temperatures (Celsius) during September. Tmax averaged 25.6 degrees (i.e. +3.7 degrees anomaly) with anomalies ranging between 0 (Rietvlei near Laingsburg) to +6.7 degrees (Sandveld) at the weather stations.  Tmin averaged 9.5 degrees (+1.8 degrees anomaly)) whereby anomalies among different weather stations ranged 0 (Caledon) to 5.8 degrees (Rietvlei).

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Rains retained the water levels of state dams at an average of 66% (30th September), with the Theewaterskloof Dam at 71% and Clanwilliam Dam 98%.  Water levels of dams in the Karoo regions still remain concerning low, while the dams in the Southern Cape currently range between 50 to 60%.

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 remain a major blow.  It can also be observed that the conditions of cereal crops have deteriorated further, this time also in the Swartland.

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The latest seasonal forecasts for rain within the period October to February (depicted by slides 4 to 6) present a slight probability for above normal rainfall for the south western region in the coming months, showing greater possibility (blue areas) for Dec-Jan-Feb (slide 6).  Note that a weaker but persistent signal (slide 5 and 6) for below normal rains in the eastern side of the Central Karoo.

Finally, the Tmax seasonal forecasts (slides 7 to 9) indicate that the province could experience above normal Tmax conditions during the following months.  In actual fact, the consistent higher temperatures of the last few months is certainly proof of this trend. 

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Slide 6


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Agri-Oulook August 2019

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