Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Temperatures have dropped significantly at the start of the week, with the South African Weather Service predicting snow in parts of the country.

In addition to the two recent snow events over the Eastern Cape and Lesotho, which included QwaQwa in the Free State, Weather SA said the mountains of the Western Cape and the extreme south-western areas of the Northern Cape are about to experience the first snow of 2020.

“The weather system responsible for the expected winter weather is an intense cold front, which will be supported by a steep upper trough from Sunday night, bringing rain showers to the south-western areas of the Western Cape.

“Ahead of this cold front, windy conditions are expected over most areas, with strong gale force north-westerly winds (50-70m/h) over the interior of the Western Cape. Gale force winds can also be expected but are likely to be confined to the south-western and southern coasts of the Western and Eastern Cape, respectively,” Weather SA said in a statement.

Furthermore, very rough to high seas, with wave heights varying between 4.5 to 6.5 m can also be expected along the afore-mentioned coastline.

According to weather forecaster, Matshidiso Mogale, the frontal system will introduce wintry conditions on Monday, 25 May 2020 and bitterly cold daytime temperatures are expected to spread eastwards over the Cape provinces.

Mogale advised communities living in the extreme south-western areas of the Western Cape to brace themselves for a combination of cold, strong gusty winds, as well as moderate rainfall.

“Numeric modelling currently suggests rainfall of the order of 5 to 15 mm over parts of the Western Cape, while mountainous areas are likely to experience more significant falls, possibly 20 to 30 mm. There is also a potential for localised flooding in places.

“Further afield, cold conditions are expected to set in over Lesotho, the Free State as well as the southern and south-western parts of the North West province during the course of Monday.  On Tuesday, 26 May 2020, snowfall is expected to spread to the central and northern interior of the Eastern Cape,” Mogale said.

During Tuesday, Mogale added, widespread bitterly cold daytime temperatures are expected over the entire interior, including the Cape provinces, Free State and southern KwaZulu-Natal.

The southern parts of Gauteng are also likely to be cold and windy on Tuesday and snowfall is also likely to spread to Lesotho, QwaQwa and the Drakensberg mountains in KwaZulu-Natal.

Refrain from travelling to snow sites

While many will be excited to see snow, the South African Weather Service has strongly encouraged the public to refrain from travelling to snow sites amidst the COVID-19 pandemic and the current lockdown regulations.

Although widespread morning frost could also be expected over the interior areas, temperatures are expected to recover gradually over the Cape provinces from Wednesday onwards.

“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 is urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio,” Mogale said.