Avatar photo

By Stephen Tau

Journalist


LISTEN: More heavy rain and flooding expected before autumn arrives

SA Weather Service warns of more above normal rainfall for the remainder of the current Summer season.


The above normal rainfall that has been experienced in various parts of the country, is expected to continue for the remainder of the current summer season, the South African Weather Service (Saws) warned.

South Africa’s rainfall areas have since December last year been experiencing above normal wet weather as previously forecast by Saws.

This heavy downpours were influenced by the La Nina weather system which is usually associated with a lot of rainfall.

ALSO READ: LISTEN: Expect a wet 2023, with above normal rainfall until expected till autumn

It has, however, been the last few weeks which saw several areas in the country experiencing torrential rain which also led to localised flooding, leaving properties damaged and some residents destitute.

The areas that were hardest hit include Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, North West, KwaZulu-Natal (KZN) and the Eastern Cape.

ALSO READ: No end in sight as killer floods hit from Coffee Bay to Parys

Speaking to The Citizen, long term forecaster at the Saws Dr. Christien Englebrecht said the residents in those areas can still expect the above normal rainfall pattern to persist, at least until the autumn season arrives.

Engelbrecht said the more rain that is being forecast for the remainder of the summer season is a potential hazard considering the fact that the ground remains saturated from the recent heavy downpours.

Rainfall recorded in 10-day period (February 11-February 21):

Gauteng:

Johannesburg – 108mm

Pretoria – 81mm

Limpopo:

Tzaneen – 355mm

Venda – 325mm

KZN:

Richards Bay – 239mm

Eastern Cape:

Coffee Bay – 400mm

North West:

Mahikeng – 89mm

Free State:

Warden – 81mm

The rising water nears the doors of the Saint Peters church in Deneysville, 20 February 2023. . Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen
The rising water nears the doors of the Saint Peters church in Deneysville, 20 February 2023. Picture: Neil McCartney / The Citizen

In avoiding the collapse of the dam wall, the Department of Water and Sanitation was forced to open 12 sluice gates at the overflowing Vaal Dam during the recent heavy downpours in the southern parts of Gauteng.

Local residents there are still reeling after their homes were submerged.

Latest seasonal forecast

man floats back flood Parys
A man floats on his back in floodwaters in Parys, 20 February 2023, in the Free State. Picture: Michel Bega/The Citizen

According to Engelbrecht, the latest forecast points to drier periods for the winter rainfall areas, which includes the Western Cape and the Eastern Cape (which receives its rainfall at any time of the year).

“Looking ahead to the summer season, indications are that there is a higher chance for an El Nino weather system to form and we hope that enough water from the recent heavy rainfall has been stored and saved,” said Englebrecht.

El Nino is usually associated with hot weather conditions which comes in the form of a series of heatwaves.

Senior digital reporter for The Citizen Stephen Tau invited long term forecaster Dr. Christien Englebrecht, to talk about the rainfall prognosis for the remainder of the current Summer season and beyond.

Listen to the podcast here:

The Citizen Talk with Stephen Tau’s Podcast is available to listen to on www.citizen.co.za.