December 2015 warmest month on record since 2000 for Port Elizabeth

JANUARY 5, 2016

December 2015 was a bumper month, weather wise, for holiday makers in Port Elizabeth and surrounds, the South African Weather Services Port Elizabeth office said on Tuesday.

"Temperatures equaled the warmest December on record since 2000. Both 2004 and 2015 recorded an average temperature of 21.5C," described Garth Sampson, SA Weather Services Client Liaison Officer for the Eastern Cape.

"The average maximum in Port Elizabeth was 26C and the average minimum was 17C for both years.

"There were only two 'windy days' during the month and no gale force winds. This is virtually an exact copy of the wind conditions prevalent in December 2004."

According to Sampson, this is one of the main contributing factors (less strong cooling westerly winds) for the warmer than normal temperatures.

"The long term average December temperature is 20.3C (Average Maximum 24.3C and average Minimum 20.3C). December 2015 was very much up on the previous December’s (2014) average temperature of 19.5 C (average maximum of 23.5C and an average minimum of 19.5C)."

He said that the APPARENT temperature, was in fact above 25 C for the whole month, bar two days, when the winds were “strong”.


"If long term averages are anything to go by we are still in the market for some more warm weather," said Sampson.

"January and February are traditionally the warmest months for the Port Elizabeth region." 

The averages are;

  • Jan         Ave Max 25.5C                  Ave Min 17.6C                   Ave Temp 21.5C
  • Feb        Ave Max 25.7C                  Ave Min 17.8C                   Ave Temp 21.7C

"On the short term, today and tomorrow will have maximum temperatures in the region of 30C.

"On Thursday some light rain will cause some cooling, which should persist until Friday (maximum temperatures below 25C)," he said.

"This will be short lived, with maximum temperatures returning to the high 20’s over the weekend."


Sea-temperature records were also broken during December 2015.

The previous highest recorded daily sea-temperature for December occurred in 2004, when 23.5C was recorded.

On the 30th December the recorded sea-temperature was 23.9C and the next day, the 31st the temperature was a whopping 24.3C.

"Although this is a record for December, it is by no means an all-time record.

"The all-time record sea-temperature for Port Elizabeth was March 2001 when a temperature of 26.5C was measured," said Sampson.

"The average temperature was 21.7C the second highest since 2000. The highest was 22.1C measured in 2004."

He said that December 2015 was the second warmest on record, after 2004 (period 2000 to 2015) for East London. 

Here are the comparative figures for East London DECEMBER:

  • 2004                       26.1        19           22.5
  • 2015                       25.9        18.2        22.1
  • AVE                        24.6        17.2        20.9


Rainfall for 2015 was a mixed bag of tricks with the regions to the west recording some bumper figures, while areas to the east and north yielding some very dismal figures.

Figures based on period 2000 to 2015.

Below are 3 figures Average Annual rain (2000 to 2015), 2015 total rain and Ranking since 2000

  • Patensie              Ave: 471 mm      2015: 901 mm    Rank HIGHEST  
  • Plettenberg Bay Ave: 688 mm    2015: 1007 mm  Rank HIGHEST 
  • Fort Beaufort     Ave: 441 mm     2015: 523 mm    Rank 3rd HIGHEST
  • Grahamstown   Ave: 533 mm     2015: 701 mm    Rank 3rd HIGHEST
  • Bisho                     Ave: 492 mm     2015: 592 mm    Rank 4th HIGHEST
  • Addo                     Ave: 457 mm      2015: 506 mm    Rank 5th HIGHEST
  • Port Elizabeth    Ave: 637 mm      2015: 707 mm    Rank 6th HIGHEST              
  • Uitenhage           Ave: 442 mm      2015: 401 mm    Rank 8th lowest
  • Graaf Reinett     Ave: 315 mm     2015: 297 mm    Rank 8th lowest
  • Somerset East   Ave: 390 mm      2015: 334 mm    Rank 5th lowest
  • Dohne                  Ave: 738 mm      2015: 593 mm    Rank 5th lowest                
  • De Aar                  Ave:334 mm       2015: 233 mm    Rank 4th lowest
  • Willowmore       Ave: 285 mm     2015: 234 mm    Rank 4th lowest
  • Cradock                Ave: 379 mm     2015: 289 mm    Rank 3rd lowest
  • Jamestown         Ave: 425 mm      2015: 231 mm    Rank 2nd lowest
  • Elliot                      Ave: 648 mm      2015: 489 mm    Rank 2nd lowest
  • Barkley East        Ave: 634 mm      2015: 381 mm    Rank 2nd lowest
  • East London       Ave: 845 mm     2015: 612 mm    Rank 2nd lowest 
  • Kokstad                Ave: 795 mm      2015: 620 mm    Rank lowest      
  • Gariep Dam        Ave: 379 mm      2015: 164 mm    Rank Lowest     
  • Aliwal North       Ave: 572 mm      2015: 340 mm    Rank Lowest     

"The latest long term forecasts do not paint a very pretty picture of hope for these dry regions," Sampson said.