The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has warned that the country is in for a hot summer, including El Niño conditions.
“Temperature-wise, the likelihood for warmer than normal conditions is high,” explained Dr Christien Engelbrecht, South African Weather Service Lead Scientist: Long Range Prediction, “with the highest chance over the interior regions of South Africa. From this prediction, it can be inferred that there is a high chance of the occurrence of heat waves over the interior”. He also said that South Africa will be affected by the El Niño during the summer season of 2023/24.
“El Niño events are typically warmer and drier over southern Africa during the summer months, however, current seasonal predictions indicate uncertainty for the typical drier conditions over the north-eastern parts of the country where the current prediction indicates low probabilities for above-normal rainfall,” Engelbrecht added.
“Over the remaining parts of the country below-normal rainfall is predicted. Current predictions of the El Niño event indicate that it can become a strong event during the mid-summer months,” he said.
SAWS consistently observes the progression of the El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO). Engelbrecht recommends that the public stay informed by regularly checking the monthly updates on seasonal predictions. This is crucial because the impact of the El Niño event can potentially alter the anticipated rainfall pattern, shifting it to a more below-normal scenario.
“It is also strongly advised to follow regular updates of the short-term weather forecasts as well as the observed climatic conditions,” concluded Engelbrecht.
Compiled by Warren Hawkins