El Niño 2.0 in SA on the way: Hottest day in 50 Years recorded in Port Elizabeth

2017-03-31 13:45 - Louzel Lombard Steyn
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Cape Town - SA's severe weather patterns are continuing, with Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape reporting its hottest day in 50 years on Thursday, 30 March. 

A sweltering 40.2°C was measured at Port Elizabeth Airport at 14:00 on Thursday, marking the second highest temperature in the city since 1960. 

This is according to Garth Sampson for the Eastern Cape office of the South African Weather Service, who told Traveller24 that the highest temperature ever was 40.7°C, measured on 11 March 1965. 

"That makes it the hottest day in PE in 50 Years," Sampson says.  

Thursday's high temperature is one of the only four times that the temperature exceeded 40°C in the city.

The top 4 list is - 

40.7°C in 1965
40.2°C in 2017
40.1°C in 2003
40.0°C in 1991

Recurrence of El Niño drought conditions in SA? 

If we thought this past summer season was scathing in terms of water scarcity, the next summer season has increased the likelihood for the development of El Niño conditions. 

This is according to the South African Weather Service's Chief Forecaster Dr Eugene Poolman, saying that the development of El Niño conditions are often associated with drought and water scarcity as seen recently in South Africa.

Speaking at a presentation to the National Disaster Management Advisory Forum (NDMAF) in Centurion on 29 March, Poolman said that although most parts of South Africa recently experienced above normal rainfall, the SA Weather forecasting showed likelihood of the El Niño - Southern Oscillation phenomenon - making a comeback in a few months' time, towards the spring season. 

“The likelihood has increased from previous assessments and as we near the winter period, these forecasts improve in reliability. At this stage it is still too early to predict its impact on the next summer season over Southern Africa,” Poolman says. 

Head of the National Disaster Management Centre (NDMC) who also chairs the Forum, Dr Mmaphaka Tau echoed Poolman's sentiments saying, “We are not yet out of the woods, it is absolutely necessary that we continue applying risk reduction, mitigation planning and water conservation interventions.”

Tau implored provincial disaster management heads who were present to commit to a vigorous approach to Disaster Risk Reduction Planning that puts communities at the centre. “We need to translate our plans into meaningful interventions that have a lasting impact on the people of South Africa," Tau says. 

The Forum is due to seat again on Thursday, 11 May 2017.  

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