Drought in South Africa

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  • Map showing the percentage of normal rainfall between October 2015 and February 2016. Credit: NOAA

    Map showing areas affected by drought. Red highlights the worst drought conditions. Credit: NOAA

    Map showing 'Vegetation anomaly' i.e. areas where plant coverage is lower than average. This year's harvest is estimated to be 30% lower than last year's. Credit: NASA

  • Drought in South Africa
    04.02.2016 15:30

    A good deal has already been written about the weather last year – the record global warmth, El Nino, snow in the USA etc. One part of the planet which hasn’t received too much attention is South Africa, which had a very dry year in 2015.

    In fact, the South African Weather Service has recently confirmed that 2015 was the driest year on record. Their figures suggest that in a normal year, South Africa should receive 608mm of rain. In 2015 there was only 403mm of rain. This new record beats the previous record low of 437mm set in 1945.

    Perhaps unsurprisingly, farmers have been badly affected by the drought. It is estimated that South Africa’s corn harvest will be 30% lower than the previous year. South Africa is the largest producer of corn in Africa.

    Back in the UK, we’ve become accustomed the much wetter weather. Obviously, there has been a good deal of rain in the last few months with flooding affecting the country, and we’ve had very stormy weather courtesy of Storms Gertrude and Henry. Unfortunately, the coming weekend looks like it will bring yet another spell of wet and windy weather.

    A deep area of low pressure is expected to sit to the north-west of the United Kingdom and Ireland over the weekend. We’re expecting heavy rain across a lot of England and Wales on Saturday morning, this spreading as far north as Scotland by the evening. Sunday will be a mixed day with some dry and bright weather but with showers too. It will be a windy weekend in most areas and there is a risk of gales in the South West on Saturday and more widely over England and Wales on Sunday evening.

     

    You can keep up to date with the forecast for this weekend with our WeatherPro app or on our website.

    By: George Goodfellow