A dry, hot summer season in store for SA

A dry, hot summer season in store for SA

The seasonal summer forecast released by the SAWS states that the rainfall forecast for summer will be below normal. Higher than normal temperatures are also expected. 

Clouds and sun

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has warned that the outlook for summer looks uncertain due to persistent drought conditions and below-normal rainfall for large parts of the country. 

The seasonal summer forecast released by the SAWS states that rainfall forecast for early-summer (Nov-Dec-Jan) will be below normal over the far eastern parts of the country, while above-normal rainfall is predicted to be more likely for the western to central parts.

Towards mid-summer (Dec-Jan-Feb), predictions also indicate an increased likelihood of below-normal rainfall


Higher than normal temperatures are expected this summer. 

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"It may be noted that forecasts from other prediction centres for this summer season indicate even higher and more

widespread probabilities of below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures over southern Africa

compared to the SAWS forecast, in particular for the mid-summer period," says the SAWS's Christien Engelbrecht. 

"It may also be noted that, at least over South Africa, the onset of summer rainfall is late and the

September and October rainfall totals have been below normal. The first significant rainfall of this summer

season only occurred at the start of November 2019," says Engelbrecht. 

"It is clear that southern African farmers, water managers and government entities need to prepare for impacts associated with the likelihood of below-normal rainfall and above-normal temperatures during the summer of 2019/20," notes Engelbrecht. 

She adds: "Furthermore, there is low soil moisture currently available to support crop planting and growth. If these conditions persist, they are likely to impact on available soil moisture, water availability for irrigation, and increased heat stress on livestock.

"Overall, the growing conditions for summer crops and pasture production will generally be constrained if

the predicted rainfall and temperatures prevail."

Engelbrecht says the predicted high temperatures, in addition to the recent heat waves, will lead to heat stress and have an impact on human and animal health. 

She says the predicted climatic conditions echo government’s calls that water users and communities should apply water saving and conservation strategies to sustain the limited water resources.

"The South African Weather Service will continue to closely monitor and communicate climate conditions and their tendencies; provide timeous monthly updates and further engage with the media, relevant government departments and the National Disaster Management Centre," says Engelbrecht. 

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