Drought-hit South Africa braces for fresh heatwave

Farmers worry about effect on this season's crops.

    Experts say the region's temperatures are rising at twice the global average [The Associated Press]
    Experts say the region's temperatures are rising at twice the global average [The Associated Press]

    The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has warned of a heatwave expected to hit at least four provinces of the drought-hit country this week.

    The warnings stretch from Port Elizabeth in the south through to Johannesburg, Pretoria and up to the border with Zimbabwe.

    South Africa is currently in late spring. While high temperatures are expected, the effect of higher-than-average temperatures along with the continuing drought has worried the farmers.

    The region's temperatures are rising at twice the global average, according to the International Panel on Climate Change.

    In much of South Africa, an unusually hot, dry spring has seen water supplies significantly reduce.

    SAWS expects lower than normal rainfall from November to January over the eastern parts of the country.

    The rainy season for most of South Africa is November through to March, and forecasts predict below normal rainfall until March 2020, with higher temperatures across the country - all coinciding with the most crucial time for crop yields, which run from October until February.

    Agricultural organisation AgriSA met earlier in November to discuss the continuing drought in South Africa, which has plagued the country since 2012.

    Willem Symington of Agri Northern Cape said: "The Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and the Limpopo area should have had a disaster declared more than a year ago."

    Of these regions, three are under heatwave warnings this week. As summer sets in, the weather outlook in the country is not encouraging.

    SOURCE: Al Jazeera and news agencies