Ricochet News

Here is your full Christmas long weekend weather forecast

Dec 22, 2017
Here is your full Christmas long weekend weather forecast

Whether one is a regular holidaymaker, eager to maximise leisure time (or perhaps a restaurant owner or hotelier) the Festive season is a time when many, if not most of us keep an anxious eye on the skies above. Will I be able to braai this evening? Will tomorrow be a 'beach day'? Will I encounter rainy weather whilst driving to the Lowveld? The South African Weather Service hereby provides an overview for the festive season to allow you to plan your holiday activities accordingly.

"From a climatological perspective, the month of December in South Africa is usually characterised by mostly hot conditions, sunny skies and the occasional afternoon thunderstorm over the humid eastern parts of the country," described Hannelee Doubell, Manager: External Communications at the South African Weather Service.

"By contrast, the Western and Northern Cape provinces are usually dominated by dry, often windy weather, although heat is still a factor common to most of our provinces at this time of year."

Doubell said that this year, the Christmas long weekend is mostly expected to be no different.

"As can be inferred from Figure 1 and Figure 2 below, much of the country can look forward to a continuation of pleasantly warm to hot conditions, in the upper 20s, edging into the low 30s (Celsius) in the days ahead. There will, however, be a few notable exceptions, which travellers and holidaymakers should be aware of," shee added.

"In the days ahead, much of the Lowveld region of Limpopo province and Mpumalanga will remain fairly hot, in the mid 30s, or even in the upper 30s at times. Such weather is typical for the summer season in this region and, when coupled with humid conditions (as is currently the case), travellers may experience some degree of discomfort.

"The public are best advised not to physically over-exert themselves and also to ensure they stay well hydrated. The hot, humid conditions will, however, be interspersed with showers or thundershowers from time to time, especially over the extreme north-eastern parts of the country on Christmas Eve (refer Figure 1)."

Doubell said that the 26th (Day of Goodwill) will bring some degree of relief, albeit short-lived, in the form of cloudy, cooler conditions over the Lowveld and adjacent escarpment regions.

Figure 1: Weather forecast for Saturday 23 December (at left) and Sunday 24 December (at right). Shaded yellow regions can expect a 30% chance of rain, whilst green shaded regions can expect a higher percentage chance of rain (60%). Rain, mainly in the form of isolated to scattered showers and thundershowers is expected to affect only the eastern and north-eastern parts of southern Africa. A small chance (30%) of passing showers exists for the drought-stricken south-western Cape peninsula and Boland areas, due to the passage of two weak cold frontal systems.

"For KwaZulu-Natal beachgoers, both Saturday (23rd) and Sunday (24th) are likely to remain hot and humid, with light to moderate coastal winds and a small chance of mostly afternoon and evening storms. Remember to pack shades, hats and sunblock if one is planning on spending time outdoors, particularly when at the coast or on the beach," she described.

"Please be aware of the expected change in the weather on Christmas day, when cooler, blustery south-westerlies will move up the coast, reaching the north coast later in the day.  

"Gauteng, North-West province and the Free State will remain generally sunny and hot, with hardly any chance of rain. If any storms occur, they can be expected on Saturday (23rd), recurring on Monday, but restricted to the north-eastern Highveld, as indicated in Figures 1 and 2. Once again, a hat, shades and sunblock are essential items if one is spending time around the pool, playing tennis or enjoying a round of golf."

Doubell further said that for the Western Cape, conditions are likely to be predominantly sunny and mild, but warming considerably if one travels further into the interior.

"Cooler, showery conditions may occur over the Peninsula and Boland from time to time, but these showers are likely to be both light and short-lived.

"As with the Cape southern coast, Christmas Day in the south-west of the Western Cape is likely to remain cool with occasional showers although a redeeming factor is that it is not expected to be as windy as the south coast! For Capetonians, the good news is that the 26th should be the best day for venturing outdoors!" she explained.

"Similarly, for the Eastern Cape (and particularly along the coast), Port Elizabeth locals have described the weather prospects for this weekend as “a mixed bag”.

"Certainly both Saturday and Sunday are likely to be mostly sunny, dry and warm, apart perhaps from some early morning drizzle on Christmas Eve, along the East Coast. Those in the Eastern Cape wishing to travel to the beach on Christmas Day, or even spend time outside at the barbeque would be best advised to modify their plans to avoid disappointment.

"Christmas Day will NOT be a beach day in the Eastern Cape! Prospective beachgoers are advised to rather wait until the 26th, when weather conditions are expected to be much sunnier, warmer and less windy."

Figure 2: Weather forecast for Monday 25 December (at left) and Tuesday 26 December (at right). Shaded yellow and green regions as per Figure 1 (above). The most notable feature in relation to the forecast for Christmas day is the presence of a cold front, expected to be migrating northwards into KwaZulu-Natal, with cloudy, showery and very windy, gusty conditions following in the wake of the cold front. The wind is expected to be particularly prevalent along the southern and south-eastern coastline, where the wind strength is likely to be of the order of 25 knots (approximately 50 km/h). By the following day, significantly cooler, cloudy weather is expected to invade KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and much of Limpopo, whilst sunnier, warmer weather is likely to return to the Cape provinces.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required. Furthermore, the public are urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio.

Updated information can also be found at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic

The South African Weather Service would like to take this opportunity to wish all South Africans a Merry Christmas and best wishes for a happy and prosperous 2018!