South Africa has gone through as the driest year ever. Reports from the national weather services said that the year 2015 was the driest ever in South Africa. Furthermore, the weather service said that average rainfall was 403 mm, about a third less than the 608 mm annual average and the driest since records began in 1904.
Sources said that it’s been on record that over 111 years now, South Africa has never being dry as was experienced in 2015. The national weather service also said that it has compared compiled data of yearly rainfall from January to December each year since records began and statistics show that the driest year was 2015.
The weather service’s Else de Jager postulated, “We’ve complied data from every province then combined that to have an average annual rainfall for South Africa and we can confirmed that from January to December 2015 the total was the lowest rainfall.”.
It is crystal clear that the agricultural sector is being hammered by weeks of heat waves that have scorched grazing land, forcing livestock owners to kill or sell animals. South Africa which is the most advanced economy in Africa, and a renowned maize exporter, may need to import as much as 5 million tonnes this year, roughly half its requirements.
Sources from industries also said that the 9 billion rand ($540 million) citrus industry which is the second-largest exporter in the world, has been hit by low dam levels and water restrictions. This is believed to be very bad and may pose economic risks to the country.
It is evident to note that in the last couple of months, drought conditions across the country have seen to a heavy rise in the price of maize as most farmers find it difficult to meet popular demand.
Reports said that the dry, hot conditions are expected to persist until the start of the southern hemisphere autumn in April or May. However, forecasters said while it’s expected that South Africa will experience abnormal rainfall this year, there is every tendency that the situation could change at any point.
It would be recalled that some time ago, the Kwa-Zulu Natal and Free State were declared disaster areas. This was because drought gripped major parts of the province. The drought was seen as the worst since 1982. Reports from the water and sanitation department said the drought affected the entire province and rain was needed within a month or there would be devastating long-term consequences.
Also, earlier this year, cape town was officially classified as heatwave. This classification was done after temperatures rose high and even reached levels higher than 40°C in some area. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said the temperature in the Western Cape can be classified as a heatwave.
Last year, diverse calls were made by economists who expressed fear that South Africa’s drought condition might to lead to high food inflation. Three provinces were declared disaster areas owing to the condition. Speaking on the country’s drought condition, last year, Forecaster Sihle Kunene had said,
“Unfortunately we are not expecting a lot of rain for the coming week, it looks like for the first part it is mainly dry. Only on Wednesday there is a small change for the central interior and after that it goes dry again. But the eastern part can expect rainfall from Saturday the 14th of November, they can expect rain as well as provinces like KwaZulu- Natal and the Eastern Cape can expect some rainfall, including Gauteng and the southern parts of Mpumalanga.”
More so, some time last year, a study published by a team of scientists portrayed that “Warming is projected to occur (in Africa) during the 21st century, with plausible increases of 4–6 °C over the subtropics and 3–5 °C over the tropics by the end of the century,”. This publication was made in the online journal of Environmental Research Letters.
No doubt, 2015 is the driest year in South Africa and it has somehow penetrated into 2016 as some states are still experiencing severe drought. Positive measures must be taken in order to abate this condition and to avoid more loss.
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