Student whose research shows that SA’s max temperature records are happening more often explains why

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Tropical cyclones – what’s called hurricanes in the US and typhoons in Asia – are happening with increasing frequency in the SADC region. In this file image  community members help search for a missing girl who was swept away at the Mkhazini river during flash floods in 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Tropical cyclones – what’s called hurricanes in the US and typhoons in Asia – are happening with increasing frequency in the SADC region. In this file image community members help search for a missing girl who was swept away at the Mkhazini river during flash floods in 2017 in KwaZulu-Natal.
Deaan Vivier/Gallo Images

It’s only April, but for those of us living in the central and south-eastern parts of South Africa, this past week has felt decidedly wintry. 

There’s more rain and extremely cold conditions expected throughout this weekend. Along with localise flooding, “light snowfalls can be expected over the eastern and southern parts of Lesotho and the surrounding Drakensberg mountains on Saturday evening as well as overnight Sunday night,” the South African Weather Service (SAWS) said earlier this week, warning the public against crossing rivers and swollen streams.

For those of us who remember more gentle and predictable transitions between seasons, it’s bizarre. “Depending on where you live, those four seasons are more definite. But in South Africa, especially in Joburg, you know it kind of got cold this week, so you’re probably sitting there thinking, ‘Where was autumn?’ And it’s the same thing with spring. It seems to be a very short season,” says Charlotte McBride, a PhD student in the department of geography, geoinformatics and meteorology.

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