Despite La Niña, “midsummer drought” looms for SA farmers

Seasonal outlooks show that South African farmers can expect a midsummer dry spell, despite an expected weak La Niña phenomenon.

Southern Africa can still expect a weak La Niña phenomenon this summer. This usually means that most of the summer rainfall regions can expect above average rainfall, says prof. Willem Landman from the University of Pretoria in South Africa.

“There are enough indications of a weak La Niña and at this time of the year we can be fairly sure it is going to happen. The chances of a strong La Niña, however, are very slim.”

Landman says seasonal predictions for rainfall in southern Africa can’t be made with as much certainty as is the case with a La Niña or El Niño phenomenon.

Also read: SA farmers expected to plant slightly more summer crops


Landman is concerned that current models show that the north eastern parts of southern Africa might not receive as much rain as hoped.

“This is strange since the La Niña phenomenon usually brings above average rains in the north east.”

Widespread snow was recorded in the eastern parts of the South Africa this week.

According to Johan van den Berg, climatologist at Santam Landbou, the cold weather means the 2017/’18 summer season is going to be late.

“The whole season already had a late start and we currently can’t determine if the phenomenon is only a cycle or if it is a permanent shift. The effect of climate change should also not be forgotten.”

Also read: Rainfall outlook positive for Zambia for rainy season

  • Reporting by Alani Janeke and Amelia Genis

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