After the near-heatwave conditions experienced last week, the sudden switch to almost wintery-like temperatures and unseasonal rain over the weekend, caught many Overstranders off-guard.
With the average maximum temperature measured over the last 58 years for January hovering around 32˚C, the cold spell was indeed unseasonal. The generous rainfall, however, was a windfall as, according to statistics by the South African National Space Agency, the average rainfall for January, as measured over the last 73 years is only 25,4 mm for the month.
According to Facebook users an average of between 80 mm and 100 mm was measured in the Overstrand. In Betty’s Bay more than 60 mm was recorded, in Palmiet, Kleinmond more than 100 mm, at Arabella almost 90 mm and in Stanford more than 70 mm. In the Greater Hermanus area between 80 mm and 128 mm were recorded at different spots. In total for the weekend, close to 130 mm was recorded in Caledon.
The wettest January on record was in 2014 when 154 mm was recorded for the month. In 2017 a total of 42 mm was recorded, in 2018, 14 mm and last year 20 mm was recorded for January.
According to weather experts, more rain is expected over the coming weekend, accompanied by another drop in temperatures.
Despite the rain, residents of Greater Hermanus must remember that Level 3 water restrictions remain firmly in place. These restrictions are: gardens may be watered with buckets or watering cans, preferably before 09:00 or after 17:00; no irrigation systems using municipal water may be used; the hosing down of paving and cement surfaces is not allowed; no washing of vehicles with a hose is permitted and the filling of swimming pools with municipal water is prohibited.
Owners of rental and holiday accommodation are urged to inform tenants and visitors of the current water restrictions. Reader Martin Etsebeth last week observed a gardener hosing down a driveway in Voëlklip.
“I was so incensed when I saw the water running down the street that I immediately turned around to confront the man. He was completely unaware of the water restrictions and gave me the number of the homeowner who lives in Cape Town.
“When I phoned the owners of the holiday house, they were surprised to hear about the water restrictions and immediately undertook to abide by them. This is only one of a number of transgressions I have seen during the season.”
Etsebeth said that it is important for all residents and visitors to remember that we live in a water-scarce area and must be mindful of our water consumption at all times.
The current restrictions will only be lifted after the De Bos dam level reaches 70%. Currently the level is below 50% and the average water consumption in Hermanus stands at approximately 13 million litres per day.