The drier conditions experienced over large parts of southern Africa mean the summer rainfall season is at its end.
According to the American weather service – the Climate Prediction Centre (CPC) – an analysis of the cumulative rain over the past thirty days indicates widespread, moderate to large deficits throughout southern Africa.
This is due to a decrease in rainfall seen since middle to late February.
In many areas of South Africa, rainfall started to subside from middle to late February.
The service says this means an early end to the summer rainfall season in many areas.
According to the agency, plant growth in the region is still average to above average and countries like South Africa, Malawi, Botswana and Zambia still expect bumper grain harvests for the 2017 season.
SHORT TERM PREDICTION
Parts of southern Democratic Republic of the Congo and Zambia can expect some rain over the weekend, but it will be below average for this time of year.
The only places in southern Africa where above average rainfall is forecast, are in the central parts of South Africa
According to the Botswana Meteorological Service, weather conditions over the weekend will be partly cloudy and warm over most parts. On Saturday and Sunday some regions can expect isolated thundershowers, with isolated showers expected over the Kgalagadi and southern parts of the Gantsi districts on Sunday and Monday. Other regions can expect cloudy to partly cloudy and warm conditions
Moderate to heavy rainfall is forecast for western Angola, with light to moderate rainfall expected over southern Angola and northern Namibia where conditions are already wet. The agency warns this could lead to more floods in already flooded areas.
Localized flooding can be expected in central and eastern South Africa with forecasts of moderate to heavy showers for today and over the weekend.
According to South African agricultural economist, Wandile Sihlobo, wet conditions are not ideal for maturing summer crops, but crops which were planted late can benefit from rainfall.