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Cumulus Report: 6 March 2020

It will remain cooler than normal over the eastern areas while anomalously warm in the west. Tropical moisture will be confined to areas north of Botswana as is often the case during dry conditions over South Africa in summer.

The following is a summary of weather conditions during the next few days:

• General:

o Most of the country will receive below-normal rainfall during the next few days.
o The southeastern parts of the country will receive normal to above-normal rainfall. Rain over these areas is expected only from Sunday (8th) onwards.
o Strong southeasterlies are possible over the southwestern parts by Thursday (5th) and from Sunday (8th) into next week.
o The eastern parts of the country will be relatively cool for this time of the year while the west to south will be warmer than normal.

• Rainfall:

o Most of the interior will be dry until Saturday (7th) except for isolated thundershowers over the western interior.
o Light showers are possible over northeastern KZN as well as the Lowveld of Mpumalanga and Limpopo from Friday (6th) to Sunday (8th).
o Isolated thundershowers will develop over the western parts (central and eastern Northern Cape, central to eastern parts of the Western Cape and western Free State) from Friday (6th) to Sunday (8th).
o Thundershowers will spread into the Eastern Cape and become scattered from Sunday (8th) onwards, spreading also into the southern parts of KZN.
o Thundershowers will spread into the rest of the Free State, North West, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and northern KZN from Tuesday (10th) onwards according to current forecasts.
o Rain and thundershowers are possible along the central to western Garden Route by Tuesday (10th) evening according to current forecasts.

• Temperatures:

o The eastern half of the country will remain cooler than normal for this time of the year, warming slightly during the period.
o The western to southern parts will be hot until Saturday (7th).
o The interior of the Western Cape will be very hot on Friday (6th). o The Karoo and most of the Eastern Cape (except northeast) will be very hot on Friday (6th) and Saturday (7th).
o The central to northern parts of the Northern Cape will remain hot throughout the period, with maximum temperatures in the upper 30s during the weekend.

Overview of expected conditions over South Africa during the next few days

Anti-cyclonic upper-air circulation (centered over the eastern to southeastern interior) will keep it mostly dry, while an easterly flow at the surface will result in cooler conditions in the east while it will at times be hot in the west. An upper-air trough will develop and deepen over the southwestern parts from Tuesday (10th) in association with a strong high-pressure system ridging around the country. According to current forecasts, this development may support more widespread precipitation towards the latter part of next week.

Conditions in main agricultural production regions (4 - 10 March)

Maize production region:

It will be mild for the most part, with little to no rain until Saturday. By Sunday and Monday (8th and 9th) isolated thundershowers are possible over the western to southern parts, spreading over the entire area by Tuesday (10th). Maximum temperatures over the western maize-production region will range between 28 and 32 °C. Minimums will be in the order of 12 - 17°C. Maximum temperatures over the eastern maize-production region will range between 24 and 29°C (lower temperatures during the weekend) while minimums will be in the order of 7 - 12°C, with the lower temperatures early in the period.

Cape Wine Lands and Ruens:

It will be warm to hot initially becoming cooler later with rain over the southern parts by next week. It will be warm to hot during the first few days over the interior, with especially hot conditions expected from Thursday to Saturday. It will be cooler from Sunday (8th) onwards. Rain and showers are possible along the Garden Route from Monday onwards. Forecasts indicate possible widespread rain and thundershowers along the Garden Route by Tuesday (10th). Strong south easterlies are possible in the southwest on Thursday (5th) and again from Sunday (8th) onwards.

Possible extreme conditions - relevant to agriculture

According to current model projections (GFS model) of weather conditions during the coming week, the following may be deduced:

• It will be very hot over the western to southern interior (including Karoo and southern half of the Eastern Cape) by Friday (6th) and Saturday (7th) with moderate winds at times. These conditions can be conducive to the development and spread of wild fires where vegetation is dry.
• Strong south easterlies over the southwestern parts, especially by Thursday (5th) and from Sunday (8th) onwards may be conducive to the development and spread of wild fires where vegetation is dry.
• Some thundershowers over the eastern parts of the Eastern Cape and southern KZN may become severe and be associated with hail on Sunday (8th) and Monday (9th).
• According to current forecasts, there is a possibility of significant daily rainfall totals along the Garden Route (central to western parts) by Tuesday (10th). This forecast has a long lead time - and therefore is less reliable.


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