Ricochet News

Snow and bitterly cold conditions expected in the Eastern and Western Cape

Sep 6, 2018
Snow and bitterly cold conditions expected in the Eastern and Western Cape

The South African Weather Service has alerted the public regarding the risk posed by a variety of extreme weather conditions expected to affect a significant portion of the country - particularly the Eastern Cape and the Western Cape provinces, from Wednesday onwards.

"This extreme, wintery weather is likely to include snowfalls, accompanied by widespread, bitterly cold conditions over many parts of South Africa, with coldness persisting for a four to five-day period in some places," explained Kevin Rae at the South African Weather Service.

"Moreover, there will also be a risk of localised heavy rain and/or incidents of flash flooding for parts of Western and Eastern Cape, particularly along the southern and south-eastern coast and adjacent interior regions.

"Thunderstorms can also be expected over parts of the interior, including the Highveld region. The weather system responsible for this episode of extreme weather is an upper air cut-off low pressure system which will be moving across the southern half of the country in the days ahead.

"Secondary development, in the lee of this system, is expected to result in more widespread and persistent extreme weather than would otherwise have been the case."

He said that provinces most likely to be adversely affected are Western and Eastern Cape and to a lesser extent Northern Cape.

"The highveld region of the Free State, North-west, Gauteng and Mpumalanga as well as parts of KwaZulu-Natal may experience isolated storms."

Figure 1: Predicted chronological sequence of 24 hour rainfall (in mm) for Wednesday 5 September 2018 in (a), Thursday 6 September in (b), Friday 7 September in (c) and finally Saturday 8 September in (d). Amber shades suggest 30 to 40 mm while red shades suggest 50 mm (or more). Source: ECMWF.

Figure 2: Predicted maximum temperature (deg C) for Wednesday 5 September 2018 in (a), Thursday 6 September in (b), Friday 7 September in (c) and finally Saturday 8 September in (d). Light blue, white and grey shades denote maximum temperatures not exceeding 12 deg C whilst dark orange (pink) shades are slightly below (above) 30 C respectively. Note the strongly defined temperature gradient across the country for all four days, with bitterly cold conditions in the south-west and south, whilst hot conditions are predicted to persist over the Lowveld. Source: ECMWF.

WATCHES:

  1. Heavy rain leading to localized flooding is expected in places over the southern parts of the Eastern Cape (Thursday).
  2. Disruptive snowfall is expected over the Sneeuberg mountains of the Eastern Cape.
  3. Heavy rain leading to localized flooding is expected along the coastal areas of the Eden District of the Western Cape on Friday into Saturday.

SPECIAL WEATHER ADVISORIES:

  1. An intense cut off low is expected to affect parts of the Western Cape, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape over the next few days. The public and small stock farmers are advised that very cold conditions and snowfalls on the high ground are expected.

"The weather system will begin exiting the country on Sunday, when predominantly clear skies will return to the country, although further showers or thundershowers may occur over the north-eastern extremity of the country. Daytime temperatures will however remain fairly chilly for a few days thereafter," Rae added.

"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."

He said that updated information in this regard will regularly be available at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic.