Cape Town - The South African Weather Service (SAWS) is clapping back after Western Cape Premier Helen Zille blamed the water crisis on their 'incorrect' predictions during a BBC interview.
In the interview, Zille claims that this drought could "not have been foreseen' and that SAWS have told her that "their models don't work anymore in era of climate change." She continues to say that predictions for the drought were for 2025, but that it had hit the city 10 years earlier.
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SAWS has fought back, calling her comments "disingenuous and extremely opportunistic" and that the premier has only met with the service once.
"SAWS has had discussions with the Premier and respectfully requested her to refrain from casting aspersions on the work of the Service. The Weather Service has further more offered the Premier access to all weather information and resources to enable her to speak from a position of knowledge rather than speculation. Now it seems this offer was not taken up," SAWS says in a statement.
"The Premier must appreciate that she is not a Meteorologist nor a Scientist, therefore we would be interested to know who her sources on climate change and the role of weather services are."
"Blaming the weather, or climate and the Weather Service is a cop-out for policy inaction and ineptitude in implementation of multidisciplinary research and reports that have long pointed to the water challenge in the country, the Western Cape and in Cape Town."
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SAWS continued to point towards their success at predicting short-term weather patterns for the country, especially Cape Town, and are making strides to improve their seasonal forecasts for different parts of the country. They also us historic data in their predictions and that the Cape drought is exceptional as two of the driest recorded years happened in the last two years (2017 had the driest year since 1921)
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They also explained that predicting the Western Cape's seasonal weather is more difficult due to highly variable Southern Ocean circulation, whereas summer-rain provinces are influenced by changes in sea-surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean and this makes predictions more reliable.
"The Western Cape Province will remain dry for the next two weeks, with the exception of some periods of light rain in areas along the south coast. Further, the next two weeks may see better rainfall conditions developing over the summer rainfall regions (central and eastern parts) of the country as the atmospheric conditions have become favourable."
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