Weather Update: Stormy Cape to see snow, fire dangers persist to the north of SA

2017-07-14 17:04 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - It's going to be a stormy weekend for certain parts of SA, with 100% rain predicted for the Cape Metropole this weekend, along with extremely cold conditions.

It has since issued an alert of localised urban flooding for the metropole region and the Overberg district on Saturday Night, 15 July into Sunday morning, 16 July. 

SEE: Approaching SA storm to bring snow, flooding but nothing like #DikWednesday - SAWS

SAWS Chief Forecaster Ezekiel Sebego says ahead of the front, rain and showers are possible over the south-western parts of the Western Cape from Saturday afternoon, 15 July 2017, spreading to the remainder of the Western Cape and the western and southern parts of the Northern Cape on Sunday.

"Rain and showers will be expected over the Eastern Cape by Sunday afternoon. Significant rainfall is expected over the south-western parts of the Western Cape during Sunday morning which may result in localized flooding in places in the Cape Metropole, Overberg and Cape Winelands Districts."

Figure 1: Accumulated precipitation (mm) expected on Sunday 16 July 2017 over South Africa (©ECMWF)

Freezing levels and snowfall 

Sebego warns freezing levels are expected to drop due to the passing cold front, allowing for snowfalls over the
mountainous areas of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape on Sunday, to as low as 1 200 to 1 400m
above sea level.

"The Western Cape and Northern Cape should brace for very cold maximum temperatures, <10°C in places, with a general decrease in temperatures expected across the rest of the country."

He says traffic disruptions can also be expected due to significant snowfall with possible closure of mountain passes in the Western Cape and Eastern Cape.

"Snowfalls are expected over the high lying areas of the province with disruptive snowfalls expected over the Sneeuberg and Winterberg. Passes such as the Lootsberg Pass and Penhoek Pass could be affected."

The public should take care in this regard, advises Sebego.

Figure 2: Accumulated snowfall (cm) expected on Sunday 16 July 2017 ©ECMWF

Gale force winds and heavy swells

As the storm moves further along, stronger interior winds can be expected over most parts of the country on Sunday.

Sebego says possible gale force south-westerly wind with speeds of approximately 70 km/h, can be expected between Cape St  Francis and East London in the Easter Cape. 

"Heavy swell in excess of 4 metres can be expected between Cape Columbine and Port Elizabeth from Saturday evening, spreading to East London by Sunday morning and reaching Kosi Bay by Monday afternoon.

"High seas with wave heights from 6 to 9 metres can be expected between Cape Point and
East London from Monday morning. We urge all beach-goers and sailors to please take note of these

Added to this, the Eastern Cape can also expect cold to very cold and wet conditions over the Province.

"The wet weather will start clearing from the west on Monday. However, due to the absence of cloud and maximum outgoing radiation, conditions will remain cold to very cold, especially over the high lying areas.

There is a 30% chance over the northern regions, with a 60% chance of rain in the southern regions
"Rainfall over the NMBMM catchment areas will not be more than 10 mm."

Improved conditions by Monday 17 July

By Monday, 17 July, the SA weather service advises that  the cold front will move to the east of the country, with conditions improving significantly across the southern and western parts.

"Isolated morning showers will be possible along the coastal areas of KwaZulu-Natal on this day, while very cold mornings with frosty conditions are expected across most of the interior. " 

Fire Hazardous conditions to the northern-western parts of SA

While conditions further norther have seen an alert issued for fire hazardous conditions for the north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape, the central and eastern Free State as well as the western and central parts of the North West Province, the southern parts of Gauteng as well as the western parts of KwaZulu-Natal. 

On Saturday, the coldest place in SA will once again be Sutherland in Northern Cape as the mercury drops to -8°C.

SEE: ALERT: Visitors warned SANParks strike to cause gate delays

Maximum temperatures on Saturday will be cool to warm across the country, with the hottest places in SA expected to be Skukuza in Mpumalanga reaching a high of 30°C. 

In Gauteng, Pretoria will reach 24°C and Johannesburg will be 22°C, while Bloemfontein in the Free State will see a high of 20°C.

Along the coastal regions, Cape Town in the Western Cape will be a nippy 14°C, KwaZulu-Natal's Durban will reach 27°C and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will also be a cool 19°C. 

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