South Africa summer weather
Seasonal Climate Watch October 2021 to February 2022 (South African Weather Service)
  • Most of South Africa is forecast to have a wet summer, with above-normal rainfall predicted up to February 2022.
  • This is according to the latest Seasonal Climate Watch report published by the South African Weather Service.
  • The Western Cape is unlikely to see an increase in precipitation.
  • But temperatures in the province are expected to be above normal, especially towards the tail end of summer.
  • For more stories go to www.BusinessInsider.co.za.

Most of South Africa is likely to experience above-normal rainfall during the upcoming summer season. But much of the Western Cape will be hot and dry.

South Africa's recovering from a bitterly cold winter, during which at least 19 new low temperature records were set in late-July, according to the South African Weather Service (Saws). These extremes are expected to continue, as forecast by Saws in its latest Seasonal Climate Watch report published on Friday.

The report forecasts rainfall and minimum and maximum temperatures from October 2021 to February 2022 based on three probabilistic categories, namely above-normal, near-normal, and below-normal.

South Africa is expected to receive above-normal rainfall throughout the summer period, with the north-eastern half of the country being particularly wet until February. This is attributed to the increased likelihood of a weak La Niña, part of the broader El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) climate pattern which influences seasonal weather.

South Africa summer weather
October-November-December 2021 (OND; top), November-December-January 2021/22 (NDJ; middle), December-January-February 2021/22 (DJF; bottom) seasonal precipitation prediction. Maps indicate the highest probability from three probabilistic categories namely Above-Normal, Near-Normal and Below-Normal (South African Weather Service)

But this increased rainfall will not extend to much of the Western Cape, which has traditionally dry summer seasons. This also applies to the Northern Cape. Between October and December, both provinces are expected to have normal levels of rainfall, with the exception the water-starved Karoo which is forecast to be drier than usual.

Both provinces are forecast to receive above-normal rainfall in December and January, although in the Western Cape's case this increase in precipitation does not extend to the coastal areas. This becomes even more limited by February, with areas in the Cederberg and Witzenberg likely to record below-normal rainfall.

South Africa summer weather
October-November-December 2021 (OND; top), November-December-January 2021/22 (NDJ; middle), December-January-February 2021/22 (DJF; bottom) seasonal minimum temperature prediction. Maps indicate the highest probability from three probabilistic categories namely Above-Normal, Near-Normal and Below-Normal. (South African Weather Service)

South Africa's summer season is also expected to be hotter than normal across all provinces. This is especially true for minimum temperature forecasts. Maximum temperatures are, however, expected to be below-normal in parts of Gauteng, the North West, and Limpopo in early-summer while remaining regular towards the tail-end of summer.

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This forecast of above-normal temperatures is especially true for the Western Cape. All areas of the province are likely to experience a season which is hotter than normal, particularly between November and February.

"The predicted above-normal temperatures are likely to induce exposure to ultraviolet (UV) radiation and heat stress conditions, leading to diseases associated with overexposure to UV and high temperatures," Saws said in its latest Seasonal Climate Watch report.

"Consequently, the relevant decision-makers are urged to advise the public to take appropriate protective measures."

South Africa summer weather
October-November-December 2021 (OND; top, November-December-January 2021/22 (NDJ; middle), December-January-February 2021/22 (DJF; bottom) seasonal maximum temperature prediction. Maps indicate the highest probability from three probabilistic categories namely Above-Normal, Near-Normal and Below-Normal. (South African Weather Service)

And while the Western Cape – particularly Cape Town – is unlikely to receive any significant rainfall and, instead, be met with soaring temperatures, forecasts for the rest of the country bode well for agricultural prospects.

"Above-normal rainfall is expected over most parts of the summer rainfall regions of the country during the early- to mid-summer seasons, which is likely to bring positive impacts for crop and livestock production," said Saws.

"Decision-makers may advise farmers to prepare land for planting, practice soil and water conservation, and establish good drainage systems."

(Compiled by Luke Daniel)

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