Following the cold-fronts that passed over South Africa earlier this
The summer is essentially over, sure we are likely to see a few more twitches before the rigor mortis sets in, but overall the patterns will begin to change to that of a more wintery nature. Though with that said, for many of us in the Western Cape, we never really got any summer rainfall at all, while we’re in a Mediterranean climate and we get our typical rainfall from cold fronts in the winter, each summer there’s usually at least 5 or so troughs which dig deep enough to provide us with some tropical rains – this year there has been a distinct lack of such weather. Hearing from fellow birders who visited the Kgalagadi in late February, the story was apparently the same there – dry weather which was leading to dull birding. Though word is that some rain has since been occurring there.
These aren’t the only places that have been unusually different from climate averages, the South Indian ocean has also been very quiet with regards to tropical cyclone activity. While the year started off quite blistery with a number of storms forming in January and February, there has now been a period of in excess of a month without the development of a tropical system, March being one of the most active months.
Of course, as we in the southern hemisphere enter into Autumn, the folks up north are heading into Spring, though currently residents of many British towns would disagree with that statement. Over the past week vast parts of England have been swept by some fairly heavy snow storms, which many residents wish had occurred 3 months earlier. The United States has seen another strange winter, while winter there was definitely more prevalent than in 2012, they also saw a late flurry of cold weather as they head into Spring. This of course begs the question of what the Atlantic hurricane season will be like. Late winters tend to mean that the season gets a late start, as cold fronts pull across the GOM, bringing with them cold air and shear – neither of which are conductive for tropical development.
As I write this, I am following some of the forecasts for Cape Town this weekend and it seems we may be following in the US’s footsteps in that we may be getting some late trough action. Wunderground is currently forecasting 70% thunderstorms for the Cape on Monday, but let it be taken to heart that the setup is currently still very ‘up in the air’ and any small variance between model runs could be the difference between thunderstorms and a sunny day.