South African Journal of Science
On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353
The torrential rains of August 2006 in the southern Cape of South Africa were the most intense observed in the region. Here we use the longest-available daily rainfall series at George (from 1941 to 2006), in the vicinity of which the most destructive floods were observed, together with an extreme value model to estimate the return period of such an extreme event. According to this model, the greatest annual maximum daily rainfall of 230 mm, observed at the town on 1 August 2006, has a return period of 1222 years, whereas the second-largest observed annual maximum daily rainfall (132 mm in September 1964) has a return period of 23 years. This shows that the August 2006 extreme rainfall at George can be considered as a particularly rare event.