- Precipitation 35% below long-term average due to El Nino
- Water restrictions in place in country's major cities
South Africa’s rainfall last year was the lowest since at least 1961, illustrating the severity of an El Nino weather pattern and the drought that’s devastating agricultural output.
Annual total rainfall was 403 millimeters (15.9 inches) in 2015, compared to the long-term average of 618 millimeters, the South African Weather Service said Wednesday in an e-mailed statement. Rainfall has been below the mean in each of the last four years.
The low rainfall, combined with record-high temperatures, has decimated harvests in South Africa, with farmers expected to produce the smallest corn crop since 1995. With dams only 55 percent full in the week ended Jan. 11, compared with 82.5 percent in the same week last year according to the Department of Water and Sanitation, water restrictions have been imposed in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town and Durban.