No end in sight for dry spell | Fin24
  • Trump and Tariffs

    Face-to-face trade meetings with China on the horizon.

  • Peter Moyo

    What is next for Old Mutual and its on-and off-again CEO Peter Moyo as legal manoeuverings continue?

  • Fin24’s newsletter

    Sign up to receive Fin24's top news in your inbox every morning.


No end in sight for dry spell

Feb 11 2018 06:30
Justin Brown

Cape Town - It is unclear for how much longer the drought in Cape Town and surrounding areas is going to last, but history shows that dry spells in the city have persisted for as long as 15 years, says Hannes Rautenbach, the chief scientist for climate change and variability at the SA Weather Service.

The weather records, which stretch back to 1921, show that Cape Town and surrounds experienced a dry spell of below normal rainfall from 1924 to 1939, he added.

The last time Cape Town experienced three consecutive years of below normal rainfall was from 1971 to 1973.

In 2015, 549 millimetres of rain was recorded, making it the second-driest year since 1921; in 2016, the region received 634mm of rain, making it the 14th-driest year since 1921; and there were 499mm last year – the driest year since 1921. This compares with average annual rainfall of 820mm since 1921.

“Two of the driest years recorded since 1921 have occurred in the past three years, which makes the Cape Town drought exceptional,” Rautenbach said.

He said there wasn’t a clear explanation for why Cape Town had seen below normal rainfall for three years in a row.

“In winter, Cape Town gets rains because cold air from the Arctic comes up from the south. This rainfall is not easy to predict.”

* SUBSCRIBE FOR FREE UPDATE: Get Fin24's top morning business news and opinions in your inbox.

cape town  |  weather  |  drought  |  water crisis


Read Fin24’s Comments Policy publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Company Snapshot

Money Clinic

Money Clinic
Do you have a question about your finances? We'll get an expert opinion.
Click here...

Voting Booth

What's your view on deep sea mining?

Previous results · Suggest a vote