Media release: Rain, snow, windy and cold conditions over parts of South Africa, 9 to 10 August 2018
The South African Weather Service would hereby like to alert the public of extreme weather conditions which are expected in parts of the country during Thursday 9 August and Friday 10 August 2018. These will be in the form of heavy rain, severe thunderstorms (producing hail and strong damaging winds), very cold conditions with snow on the high grounds and mountains, as well as strong to gale force winds along parts of the coast. The cause of these conditions is the presence of a cut-off low pressure system which will be moving through the country. The provinces which will be affected the most are Free State, KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape.
Heavy rains with a potential risk of flash flooding are expected on Thursday over the western and southern parts of KwaZulu-Natal into the neighbouring Lesotho. On Friday, the heaviest rain is expected over the southern parts of the Eastern Cape. Members of public in these areas are urged to be alert to the dangers associated with heavy rain.
Most snow is expected over the south-western mountains in KwaZulu-Natal as well as the neighbouring Lesotho on both Thursday and Friday. There are also snowfalls expected over the mountains in the northern and north-western parts of the Eastern Cape (including the Sneeuberg and Winterberg mountains) on Friday. These conditions may become disruptive to some road users due to the closure of high mountain passes in these areas. Small stock farmers are also alerted to dangers that these conditions pose to their animals.
Cold conditions currently over the southern parts of the country are expected to spread east and north, to affect most of the country during Thursday and Friday. These cold conditions will result in single digit (below 10 degrees C) daytime temperatures over a wide area over the southern parts of the country, especially the high-lying areas.
Elsewhere, there is also a possibility of storms becoming severe from Thursday afternoon over the central and eastern Free State, possibly spreading to the southern parts of Gauteng and Mpumalanga late at night and into Friday morning. Thunderhowers are still possible over eastern Limpopo and Mpumalanga on Friday afternoon.
Strong to gale force south-westerly winds (62 to 70 km/h) are expected in places along the eastern half of the Eastern Cape coast on Friday due to the passage of the cut-off low. These areas are expected to be very isolated along the coast with the main coastal areas of concern being between Port Alfred and Port Edward from about noon. These conditions will spread to the southern coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal in the early evening. Mariners and coastal communities are advised to take care in these affected areas as the seas are also expected be very rough to high, with wave heights reaching between 6.0 and 8.0 m in some areas.
The weather system will exit the country on Saturday resulting in rapid clearance and warming.
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 @SAWeatherService