Extreme heat expected to last until autumn

Most weather forecasting models indicate the continuation of a strong El Niño episode, causing lower-than-normal chances of rain towards the late-summer season in 2016, according to Cobus Olivier of the South African Weather Service.

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The Seasonal Climate Watch for January to May 2016 expects higher-than-normal temperatures over most of the country during the remainder of the summer season, with below-normal minimum temperatures anticipated for the south western parts of South Africa.

The persisting extreme dry and warm conditions are expected to reach a peak during late summer/early autumn. This would exacerbate the impact of the current drought over most of SA, according to a Climate Watch statement.

The extreme conditions are expected to start weakening during autumn and early winter, with some possibility of above-normal rainfall for parts of the eastern half of the country in late summer and in autumn.

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The SA Weather Service also warned severe heat waves were expected over most parts of South Africa in the first week of January. Temperatures exceeding 40°C were forecast for parts of the Northern Cape.

Cooler temperatures are expected by Thursday evening.