Drought conditions associated with an El Nino weather pattern are likely to re-occur within a matter of months, according to the government.
“The likelihood has increased from previous assessments and as we near the winter period, these forecasts improve in reliability.”
“The next summer season has increased the likelihood for the development of El Nino conditions which are often associated with drought and water scarcity as seen recently in South Africa,” the government said in a statement on Thursday, 30 March.
South Africa’s weather service and global forecasters have predicted that El Nino will form again in the southern hemisphere winter or spring, which falls between July and September.
If El Nino does return between July or September, it would be the first time it reformed so quickly since the mid-1960s, noted weather experts.
What is El Nino?
El Nino is a warming of ocean surface temperatures in the eastern and central Pacific that occurs every few years, with global consequences. In Africa it often brings excessive rains to the east while the southern most regions are parched.
The country has only recently recovered from a previous El Nino in May 2016, which brought with it widespread drought to Southern Africa, hitting crop production and fueling inflation across the region while leaving millions in need of food aid, noted government.