The SA weather service says the spring is likely going to be hotter than usual.
The weather service revealed this on Monday, adding that it will be complimented with a low likelihood of heavy rain, despite the fact that South Africa is moving towards a La Niña weather system, which is characterized by wet and cold weather.
“Perhaps we will see ourselves breaking records,” general manager of operations Mnikeli Ndabambi said, adding that this could be translated to mean better rain at the beginning of the summer, but not in spring.
The country is in more need for better rainfalls following series of drier-than-normal preceding years, combined with the 2015 El Niño weather system. This was characterized by dry spells and extreme heat.
El Niño is the warming of sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean which influences atmospheric circulation, and consequently rainfall and temperature in specific areas around the world.
Translated as ‘the boy child’, scientists explain that when the three-month running mean of the SST anomalies in the Nino 3.4 region are greater than or equal to 0.5°C, there is a good chance of an El Nino event taking place.
“Despite some heavy rains during autumn and winter, South Africa still had a long way to go before recovering from the drought.” Ndabambi said.
“It would depend on the rainfall and temperatures over the coming spring and summer.”
In June, Co-operative Governance Minister Des van Rooyen declared eight drought-stricken provinces disaster areas. Dam levels in these areas have drastically dropped.
While the rain in autumn was a little helpful, the country is still in need of “significant rain” to recover from the drought.
The SA weather service could not provide any confirmation of the expected weather conditions for spring due to the conditions over the Indian Ocean, which were not conducive to making accurate rainfall predictions.
SA weather Service was able to predict the drought with a great deal of confidence, due to the El Niño system over the country at the time, now, it said “we are almost uncertain what we are going to get.”
Residents, business and government departments in inland provinces are therefore urged to conserve more water than they’ve been doing.