2013 wettest year in 29 for Somerset West

30 December 2013

2013 rainfall by month for Somerset West, shown against average of all prior years.

2013 rainfall by month for Somerset West, shown against average of all prior years.

 

This post is obviously of local interest but here it is nonetheless:  2013, largely due to way above average rains in August and November (see graphic above), was the wettest of 29 consecutive years for the town of Somerset West, Western Province, South Africa, continuing a sustained wet cycle that started in 2004.  In addition to August and November, February and June recorded 40 mm above the long-term average. November was the month of the devastating flood that received much press attention (see earlier post).

The Helderberg Mountain (centre), viewed from the southwest (Photo: Bill Harding)

The Helderberg Mountain (centre), viewed from the west (Photo: Bill Harding)

Before I go further I need to clarify location and method of data collection, as rainguage data can vary enormously.  Those reported on here are collected via an automatic, roof-mounted tipping bucket rainguage with data logger.  So, no interferences from sprinklers, forgetting to empty it and etc.  It is located on the mid-southwestern slopes of the Helderberg Mountain.

Annual totals (mm) plus 5 year moving average trend.

Annual totals (mm) plus 5 year moving average trend.

The total of 1127 mm for 2013 exceeds the previous high of 1099 recorded in 2007, with eight of the previous 10 years being at or above 850 mm per annum (see graphic above).  The driest year on record was 2000, with just 543 mm measured (remember all those veld fires in that dry cycle?).

Any predictions for what 2014 will bring?

 

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