Cape Town - The weekend is off to a cold, wet start across most of the country as South African Weather Service (SAWS) has forecast widespread rain from Friday night, 16 March, due to a cold front.
"A cold front is currently advancing across South Africa, with colder, moist air expected to bring cold conditions and some welcome rain to the eastern interior, including the Highveld region, on Saturday, 17 March," says SAWS, adding that a "rapid countrywide recovery of temperature, together with drier conditions is anticipated as early as Monday (19 March)."
SAWS assures that these conditions are not related to the tropical storm Eliakim which made landfall in Madagascar earlier on Friday. "Eliakim is forecast to stay well away from South African shores," adds SAWS.
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On Friday evening, SAWS issued a warning for heavy rain leading to localised flooding expected over the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape, as well as KZN except its extreme northern parts.
A watch has also been issued on Friday evening for gale force south-easterly winds (62-70km/h) expected over the Cape Metropole and southern coastal areas of the West Coast district of the Western Cape.
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On Saturday, SAWS warns that extremely high fire danger conditions are expected over the Cape Metropole of the Western Cape.
According to Snow Report SA, snow is expected over the Drakensberg on Friday night, and possibly on Saturday.
"Whilst heavy rain is expected at lower altitudes in the southern and central Drakensberg, snow is possible on the extreme high peaks like Thabana Ntlenyana (15km inland from Sani Pass), Mafadi, Njesuthi, Popple Peak, Champagne Castle, and Giants Castle," says Snow Report SA.
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"The higher peaks are currently predicted to get between 10cm and 20cm of snow at this stage, whilst the lower peaks could just get a dusting. We are not expecting any low level snow. We also predict a quick melt as ground temperatures remain high ahead of the front," it adds.
On Saturday, SAWS predicts a 60% chance of rain over the eastern part of Eastern Cape, central and eastern parts of Free State, and across all of Lesotho, KZN, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng and North West.
A 30% chance of showers is expected over central Eastern Cape, the rest of Free State and eastern parts of Northern Cape.
Minimum temperatures on Saturday will be cold over the southern-interior and cool throughout the rest of the country.
Sutherland in Northern Cape will be the coldest place again, this time dropping to 6°C.
Maximum temperatures will be cool across most of the eastern parts of the country including the Garden Route, Eastern Cape, Free State and Lesotho, as well as over most of KZN, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo. It will be warm across western parts of SA, as well as the northern parts of Mpumalanga and Limpopo.
The hottest place in SA will be Vredendal in Western Cape, reaching a high of 34°C.
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Pretoria in Gauteng is set to reach a high of 24°C, while Johannesburg will reach 20°C. Bloemfontein in the Free State will be 23°C.
Along the coastal regions, Cape Town in the Western Cape will reach 31°C, Port Elizabeth in Eastern Cape will see a high of 22°C, while Durban in KZN will also be 22°C.