Heavy rains, strong winds & even snow expected as SA braces for chilly weekend

South Africans are in for a cold and wet weekend as an intense low-pressure system is expected to herald widespread showers and thundershowers across the country. The weather is expected to continue through to next week.

The South African Weather Service said the weather system, also known as a cut-off low are notorious for causing flooding, damaging winds, severe thunderstorms, and even snow.

Cut-off lows are most frequent during the Autumn and Spring seasons, with the highest frequency during the month of April.

Cooler temperatures are expected over the southern and eastern parts of the country from Friday.

“Following this, an intense cut-off low is expected to develop along the west coast of the country from Saturday afternoon. It will then move over the Northern Cape on Sunday, reach the interior of the Western Cape on Monday, and exit along the southern coast of the Western Cape on Tuesday.

“Widespread showers and thundershowers are expected to develop over much of the country during Saturday and will continue until at least Tuesday, hereafter calm and clear weather conditions will return to many areas,” Saws said.

According to the forecaster, persistent showers and thundershowers may lead to flooding over the central and eastern parts of the country, particularly from Sunday into Monday, while severe thunderstorms with heavy rainfall and large amounts of small hail are possible over the western interior on Sunday into Monday.

“There is also an indication of heavy rainfall over parts of the Overberg and south-west coast of the Western Cape on Monday into Tuesday, as the cut-off low exits along the southern coast of the Western Cape. The Cape south-west coast may also experience a strong to gale force south-easterly wind, which could affect coastal marine routines and operations,” Saws said in a statement.

It said cool to cold maximum temperatures are also expected across parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal from Saturday, which will spread to the remainder of the country on Sunday into Monday. Day-time temperatures are expected to be in the high teens and low 20s across most parts and will even go down to the low teens over the high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape and KZN.

However, Saws warned that there remains uncertainty among Numeric Weather Prediction (NWP) models regarding the intensity and future movement of the system.

“This uncertainty could lead to changes in rainfall amounts and distribution. We will therefore provide regular updates to the public and disaster management on expected weather conditions and potential impact-based warnings.

“It is strongly advised that the public take necessary precautions during this weekend and early next week. This includes avoiding crossing flooded roads, bridges, and swollen streams,” Saws said.

Various provincial disaster management teams will be on standby to assist stranded communities.

The City of Cape Town has issued the following advice to the community.

•Clearing out drainage systems

•Raising the floor level of a structure so that it is higher than the natural ground level

•Raise furniture on bricks to clear from the floor to limit water damage

•Make sandbags

•Dig trenches around the house to divert water away from the house

•Report blocked drains, intakes, and illegal dumping – illegal dumping in the stormwater canals and sewers make flooding worse

•Waterproof roofs, clear gutters and remove dead tree branches.


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