Winter and first snow are here

Henry

After a relatively drier and warmer May, the first chilly weather began to appear over large parts of the country.

Despite snow that has already fallen in certain places, a warmer winter is still beckoning, says the South African Weather Service (SAWD).

A cut-off low pressure system is forecast over the western and southern parts of the country until Tuesday.

According to Wayne Venter, a forecaster with the weather service, cutoff low pressure systems are generally associated with widespread rainfall, snowfall, strong to gale-force winds and rough sea conditions in the winter months.

The mercury has already started to drop over the weekend and the first snow has been recorded in Lesotho and parts of the Drakensberg.

Cold temperatures with a maximum of 17 °C are expected for Monday over the western and southern parts of the country. This includes the Free State, North West, Gauteng, the Highveld of Mpumalanga and the interior of KwaZulu-Natal.

Chilly weather with a maximum of below 10 °C, forecasted with snowfall on mountain peaks, is also possible on Monday over the northern highlands of the Eastern Cape, the eastern highlands of the Western Cape, the southern highlands of the North – Cape and parts of the Drakensberg in Lesotho.

Snowfall of up to 15 cm is forecast for Tuesday over the southern Drakensberg (around Tiffindell and north of Barkley East). Snow is also expected in the vicinity of Jamestown, Molteno, Lady Gray and surrounding towns. Light snow may also occur in the Great Karoo (at Noupoort, Richmond, Murraysburg, Fraserburg and surrounding areas).

The system is expected to begin to weaken on Tuesday, with rainfall still expected over parts of the Western and Eastern Cape.

Forecasts show that South Africans can expect a warmer winter this year, with periods where cold air will move over the country.

“Although there is a general trend towards warmer than normal winter weather, the forecast of cold conditions is to remind us that the weather can be unpredictable,” says Venter.