‘Latest rain not a break in SA’s drought’

Experts say SA needs an average of 100 millilitres of rain over a 10-day period to end the drought.

FILE: The southern oscillation pattern has seen below average rainfall. Picture: Freeimages.com

JOHANNESBURG - The South African Weather Service says the latest rain doesn't signal a break in South Africa's drought.

Climate change experts have held a briefing today on the current and future effects of the El Nino system.

The southern oscillation pattern has seen below average rainfall that's led to five provinces being declared disaster areas.

Chairperson of the South African Weather Service Mnikeli Ndabambi says yesterday's rain isn't cause for celebration.

"You need it to fall over a period of time so it can fill up the rivers and dams."

He says even in the current dry spell some rainfall is still expected.

"When we say we are in the dry period it does not mean we are not getting some rainfall. Some will be localised and some will cause flooding."

Experts say South Africa needs an average of 100 millilitres of rain over a 10-day period to end the drought.

#ElNino2015 Climate change experts gave a briefing today on the effects of the current El NiƱo system. DB. pic.twitter.com/GrJY5pC5Uc

As the 2015 cycle of the El Nino system takes its toll on the southern hemisphere, experts say South Africa have not experienced such extreme effects in 18 years.

Gauteng experienced a significant hail storm yesterday, damaging hundreds of homes and cars, and leading to a fatal accident.

Neville Sweijd of the Applied Centre for Climate and Earth Science Systems says no dry spell in the last 18 years compares to this year's drought.

"The 2015 El Nino is a relatively large event and is comparable to the South African 1997/1998 event."

Research professor at the CSIR, Francois Engelbrecht, says evidence shows that more intense cycles of El Nino are expected.

"The super El Ninos may well increase in frequency."

While there will be some rainfall this season, forecasters still predict a hot, dry, summer in most parts of the country with significant showers only expected in March 2016.