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May rains an improvement, but CT still under drought conditions, says dept

A University of Cape Town climatologist, says that based on the current rainfall statistics, Cape Town can expect a normal year ahead.

A wet Somerset Road in Cape Town on a rainy day. Picture: Zunaid Ismael/EWN

CAPE TOWN – Cape Town's winter rains have arrived, but the provincial Department of Environmental Affairs warns the region is still in a drought.

A University of Cape Town climatologist, says that based on the current rainfall statistics, Cape Town can expect a normal year ahead.

The Weather Service says 66 millimetres of rain was measured at the Cape Town International Airport weather station in May.

The long-term average is 62 millimeters.

The service adds that the total rainfall from January to date is 144.1 millimeters, and the long-term average is 134.1 millimeters. Therefore, we are 10.0 millimeters above average.

Hydro-climatologist at UCT's Climate System Analysis Group, Piotr Wolski, says May's rainfall average is an improvement.

“At this stage, we're looking at a normal season. That releases the stress on the water supply system, although it doesn’t solve the water crisis.”

Last week, Cape Town's average water consumption dropped slightly and was recorded at 505 million litres per day down by 20 million litres.

Environmental Affairs spokesperson James-Brent Styan, says the recent rains have made an impact but adds that the province needs more than three years of above average rainfall.

“What we've seen in the last few weeks is that there might be slightly above normal rainfall but we are still entering the winter season, and so it’s still largely in the air.

(Edited by Leeto M Khoza)

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