Drier winter awaits Swartland farmers – weather expert

Drier winter awaits Swartland farmers – weather expert
Overberg Agri weather forecaster, Giel Hugo, has predicted wetter weather conditions for the Overberg and Southern Cape regions this coming winter.
Photo: Tobie-Christie du Preez

The precipitation outlook for the Swartland region does not look favourable this winter, according to Overberg Agri weather forecaster, Giel Hugo.

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Speaking at the annual SKOG Pre-Plant Information day on Langgewens Research Farm near Moorreesburg, Hugo said it appeared as if cold fronts would not follow normal behavioural patterns this year.

This meant the Swartland region, especially the northern parts, would not receive ample rainfall this winter.

“However, this is not a ‘train smash’. Although data suggests that is very unlikely that the Swartland [region] will reach 2018’s average rainfall this year, it will be more than that of 2017 which was a fairly poor year.”

He explained that cold fronts were not expected to move as far north as they normally did and would rather make landfall over Cape Agulhas.

He emphasised that this would, however, not apply to every cold front moving in over the Western Cape.

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Against this backdrop, Hugo said it appeared as if the Overberg region and the drought-stricken Southern Cape region could look forward to good winter precipitation this year.

He expressed concern about the lifting of water restrictions in the greater Cape Town region, however, saying he believed this decision had been taken too early.

“[The region is] not going to receive a lot of rainfall, definitely less than in the Overberg. There will be water in the dams and if we work sparingly with the water there might even be a bit of surplus. However, we expect to see less water in the dams if the pace of consumption continues to rise as [it has] in the past few years.”

During his presentation, Hugo also showed delegates rainfall figures for the Bredasdorp area going back more than a century.

He said this was a clear indication that some rainfall was still received during dry weather cycles, while dry years also occurred during wet weather cycles.

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