SA can expected heat waves this summer

Thursday, November 16, 2023

South Africa can expect warmer than normal conditions, with a high chance of the occurrence of heat waves over the interior during the summer season of 2023-2024.

“Temperature wise, the likelihood for warmer than normal conditions is high, with the highest chance over the interior regions of South Africa. From this prediction, it can be inferred that there is a high chance of the occurrence of heat waves over the interior,” South African Weather Service (SAWS) Lead Scientist: Long Range Prediction, Dr Christien Engelbrecht, said on Thursday in Pretoria.

He said South Africa will be affected by the El Niño during the summer season of 2023-2024.

“El Niño events are typically warmer and drier over southern Africa during the summer months. However, current seasonal predictions indicate uncertainty for the typical drier conditions over the north-eastern parts of the country where the current prediction indicates low probabilities for above-normal rainfall.

“Over the remaining parts of the country below-normal rainfall is predicted. Current predictions of the El Niño event indicate that it can become a strong event during the mid-summer months,” Engelbrecht said.

As SAWS continuously monitors the development of El Niño-Southern Oscillation (ENSO), Engelbrecht advised the public to follow the monthly updates of the seasonal prediction as the El Niño event can still manifest its influence and change the outlook of the rainfall prediction to become more in favour of below-normal rainfall.

“It is also strongly advised to follow regular updates of the short-term weather forecasts as well as the observed climatic conditions,” he said.

Following Monday’s severe thunderstorm in parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga, SAWS explained that it was not an unusual event that can only be attributed to climate change.

Monday’s thunderstorm unleashed a hailstorm in the City of Johannesburg in Gauteng and a tornado in the Lekwa Local Municipality in Mpumalanga.

In the Johannesburg area, Midrand was the hardest-hit, with damages that included shattered windshields of motor vehicles and broken windows of residences.

“Isolated incidents cannot be directly attributed to climate change. An increased probability of ‘normal’ severe weather events is most likely to be the result of climate change. However, this does not mean that specific severe weather events can solely be attributed to climate change. Specifically, the storm in question occurred due to a range of factors favourable for its development,” SAWS Senior Manager: Disaster Risk Management, Tshepho Ngobeni said.

On Monday morning, SAWS issued a Yellow Level 2 impact-based warning, or a high likelihood of minor impacts, for severe thunderstorms for districts and metropolitan municipal areas such as Govan Mbeki District in Mpumalanga and the City of Johannesburg. –