Northern Cape residents are cautiously celebrating after a week of rain that saw rivers swell, fields turn a tinge of green and a park close due to the water levels. 

The province is caught in one of the worst droughts – and several heatwaves – in decades. The heavens opened last Monday and in some areas, more rain was recorded this week than the entire rainfall for 2015.

“Thank God! Saturday 25mm, Sunday it was 6mm, Monday 4mm, Tuesday 6mm and Wednesday and Thursday 26mm. This is only for this week. It’s only January and already it’s more than last year’s entire winter rainfall of 62mm,” Namaqualand resident, Micheal Jonas, posted on Facebook.

The rain also saw the Orange river – that snakes through most of the province – rise.

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All the parks in the Northern Cape received good rains, SANParks said on Sunday. “Pontoon in the Richtersveld is temporarily closed because of the strong current of the river. It also rained until late Friday night at Augrabies and the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park,” said SANParks’ Nadia Lemmetuis.

More rain needed to make meaningful dent

While the current was strong at Augrabies, it was not yet in flood. The park was monitoring the situation.

There were several reports of localised flooding. Residents at Kamieskroon in the Namaqualand as well as Upington in the Northern Cape said several roads were briefly flooded over the weekend. None, however, required action, according to spokespeople from various municipalities in the areas.

The SA Weather Bureau earlier warned of localised flooding because of the condition of land as a result of the drought.

Representatives of organised agriculture in the province said they were happy about the rain, but were still calculating how much and, more importantly where, the rain fell. While welcomed, good follow-up rains well into February and beyond were needed to make a meaningful dent in the persistent drought conditions across the province.

Sunny skies were predicted across the province this week, with temperatures hovering around the early 30s.