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Batten down the hatches, forecasters say icy weather is on the way

The full gamut of winter weather will hit the Western Cape next week and spread throughout the country. Stock photo.
The full gamut of winter weather will hit the Western Cape next week and spread throughout the country. Stock photo.
Image: 123rf/photoschmidt

Winter is about to hit SA hard, with warnings of gales that will damage buildings, waves that will threaten vessels, torrential rain that will flood roads and informal settlements, freezing conditions and snow.

The SA Weather Service said the Western Cape would be the first area affected by a series of cold fronts but most of the country would feel the chill during next week.

“A series of cold fronts are expected to make landfall over the western parts of the country early next week and move eastward, affecting most of SA,” the service said.

“These cold fronts are expected to result in strong winds, high waves, heavy rainfall, light snow and a significant drop in temperatures.”

Heralding the first front, northwesterly winds gusting up to 80km/h were expected in  southern parts of the Northern Cape and interior of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape from Sunday.

“These strong winds are likely to result in damage to formal and informal settlements as well as possible structural damage in these areas.

“In addition, westerly to southwesterly waves, with significant wave heights of 4-4.5m, are expected between Cape Point and Cape Agulhas on Monday morning, continuing into the afternoon. These conditions may result in difficulty navigating at sea.

“By Monday evening, another cold front will reach the Western Cape. As these fronts make landfall, high rainfall amounts are expected mainly in the southwestern parts of the Western Cape, especially from Monday through to Wednesday afternoon. This rainfall will spread eastward on Tuesday towards the Eastern Cape.

“Rainfall accumulations are expected to reach 50-80mm over the mountainous areas of the Cape metropole, the western parts of Cape Winelands and the western parts of the Overberg districts between Monday and Wednesday.

“These high rainfall accumulations are likely to cause flooding of roads and formal/ informal settlements in these areas.”

In the Eastern Cape, where Nelson Mandela Bay is on the brink of running out of water, the rainfall would be lower and was “not anticipated to have any significant effect on the dam levels”, the weather service said.

Temperatures are expected to drop significantly over the Western Cape and Namakwa district on Monday. The cold weather would reach Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal between Wednesday and Thursday.

“With this cooling, freezing levels are expected to also drop significantly, resulting in light snowfall over the southern high ground of Namakwa, as well as the high-lying areas in the western interior of the Eastern Cape on Tuesday, spreading to the northeastern high ground of the Eastern Cape on Wednesday.”


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