Is El Nino still coming? South Africa

1. Current conditions:

Rain started to occur over the drought stricken areas of the Eastern and Southern Cape since the beginning of September. Cold fronts still frequently visit the country resulting in very cold conditions and snow over parts of the country. The occurrence of cold fronts is responsible for very high wind speeds and a very high fire risk.

2. El Nino and Indian Ocean​:

Rapid El Nino development (warming of Nino areas) is expected to happen in September and October to reach a peak in November to January. There is now more certainty about the El Nino occurrence. If the current development is compared to the El Nino of 2015/16, was the average surface temperature in the Nino3.4 area in July 2015 about 1.5°C warmer than normal compared to July 2018 with less than 0.5°C warmer than normal.

Western Indian Ocean temperatures are also still in a neutral state but slight warming is expected in months to come.

3. Expected rainfall and temperature conditions​

3.1 Summer Rainfall Areas
The expected rapid El Nino development in September and October can probably result in above average rainfall for the early part of summer (September to November), especially over the central and south eastern parts of the country.
There is also a high probability for frost until the first week of October over the central to southern parts of the country with cold fronts still moving over the country.

3.2 Winter Rainfall Areas
In contrast to previous forecasts is it now likely that rainfall will be concentrated over the Southern and adjacent drought stricken Eastern Cape. Most of September and parts of October are still favourable for rain for most of the Western Cape Province. This timely rain will most probably result in record winter grain yields but rain when maturity was reached and during the harvesting process can pose a problem.

3.3 Namibia
It is expected that Namibia will also suffers from the negative effects of El Nino in midsummer but there is also an increased probability for early summer rainfall that can softens the effect of El Nino.

4. Summary and conclusions​
bullet El Nino development is starting to occur but the timing and speed of development can be responsible for higher rainfall probabilities for most of Southern Africa in early summer.
bullet In general, taking all factors into account is an average summer production season anticipated although dry and hot conditions are expected in midsummer and may be late summer. The effect of El Nino may be less towards the east and more severe towards the west.
Good rainfall conditions for the Western Cape remains possible until the middle of October.

SANTAM- Johan van der Berg-




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