Weather Update: High fire danger along Garden Route + extreme conditions across parts of SA

2017-06-09 17:59 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - The weekend sees harsh weather conditions across most of South Africa, but particularly in the Western Cape which expects high veld fire danger, gale force winds and flooding.

SA Weather Service warns that extremely high veld fire danger conditions are expected on Saturday 10 June in the eastern parts of the Northern Cape, extreme western part of the Free State, Karoo areas and Eden district of the Western Cape, as well as the western and central interior of the Eastern Cape.

In addition to this, gale force northerly to north-westerly winds (60-70 km/h) are expected over the southern interior of the Northern Cape as well as the Karoo areas and Eden district of the Western Cape in the afternoon, subsiding in the evening of Saturday, warns SA Weather Service.

More strong winds could reignite #KnysnaFires

As we head into the weekend, the outlook for firefighters who continue to battle with blazes along the Garden Route and guard against flare-ups, does not look good according to SA Weather Service.

One firefighter is among the people who have lost their lives in the storm that has wrecked havoc across the Western and Eastern Cape. See News24's coverageLIVE: #KnysnaFire contained, firefighter dies

SA Weather Service spokesperson Garth Sampson says another cold front is approaching the region, and ahead of this cold front, "strong north-westerly winds are expected over the Eastern Cape" on Saturday 10 June.

SEE: #KnysnaFire: Urgent call for support of victims

"Considering the current fires in the Kouga and Nelson Mandela Bay Metropolitan municipality, the public must be aware that fires could be reignited by the strong winds on Saturday. Thus conditions are favourable for the development of runaway fires."

"Gusts of up to 40-45 knots (80-90 km/h) are possible in places. These winds will again be warm Berg winds and are expected to be strongest between 11 am and 5 pm on Saturday 10 June," adds Sampson.

"The winds are expected to remain north-westerly through Saturday night in Port Elizabeth, but are expected to change to a strong south-westerly on Sunday 11 June as the cold front moves through."

SEE: UPDATE: More strong winds could reignite #KnysnaFires

Sampson says that "no rainfall is expected through Saturday and Sunday between Patensie and Port Elizabeth" and similar conditions are expected along the Garden Route.

Rain and flooding

While high rainfall is much-anticipated in the drought-stricken western part of the country, South African Weather Service warns that on Saturday 10 June, localised urban flooding is expected in places over the Cape metropole, as well as the western parts of the Overberg district.

The South African Weather Service forecast for Saturday sees an 80% chance of rain over the western coastal region of the Western Cape, including Cape Town and Vredendal. 

A 60% chance of rain has been predicted over the adjacent interior stretching from the Western Cape coast including Hermanus, to the Northern Cape coast including Hondeklip Bay.

A 30% chance of rain is expected over the rest of the Western Cape, the southern half of the Northern Cape as far as Upington, and the western region of the Eastern Cape including Cradock.

The rest of the country will be cold and dry.

Water shortages continue

The water shortage in the Western Cape continues and Mayoral Committee Member for Informal Settlements, Water and Waste Services and Energy, Cllr Xanthea Limberg says "we need continuous rainfall over many weeks for our dam levels to reach sufficient levels."

"It will at least take three consecutive winters of above-average rainfall to make a real difference," says the City of Cape Town.

SEE: Cape Town Water Crisis: It will at least take three rainfalls to make a real difference

Limberg confirmed the City of Cape Town is investigating a range of emergency solutions, including the rental of desalination units, that could altogether yield a supply of up to 500 million litres per day. See the full story here.

SEE: Cape Town Water Crisis: Surrounded by two oceans, is desalination the solution?

The water crisis remains dire for the Western Cape as dam levels fall further, and the City of Cape Town on 31 May approved Level 4 water restrictions, which came into effect from 1 June. This limits residents to 100 litres of water per person, per day. Read News24's full report here.

state of disaster has been declared in Kouga (Eastern Cape) as the drought continues across the region, and Knysna Municipality is also requesting assistance with water for the fires.

Snow in the high-lying regions, and black frost in Gauteng

Snow fell in the mountainous regions of the Northern Cape and Cape Winelands from Thursday morning and is still clearly visible in some places.

SEE: PICS: Snow in SA's western mountains as fires rage in Knysna

Snow Report SA says "There is another frontal system approaching the Western Cape, due to make landfall [on Saturday 10 June], and bring some nice rain to the area. We are starting to see the possibility of some light snowfalls over the extreme high peaks of the Matroosberg and Cederberg during Saturday afternoon. Only very light falls (1-3cm) are possible, and any falls will be confined to the extreme high peaks."

Parts of Gauteng are expected to have a cold front and black frost over the weekend. This type of frost, according to Gauteng Weather, causes "severe freezing that blackens growing plants without visible frost".


Temperatures 

On Saturday, the minimum temperatures will range from warm along the east coast and northern part of Limpopo, to cold and very cold in the central interior of the Northern Cape, Free State and Gauteng, as well as northern part of the Eastern Cape.

On Saturday, Vereeniging in Gauteng will be the coldest place in the country, dropping to an icy -3°.

Maximum temperatures will be warm along the east coast and northern part of Limpopo, and cool to cold across the rest of the country.

The hottest place in SA on Saturday is George in the Western Cape, seeing a high of 28°C.  

Click here to see the specific forecast for your city

Pretoria in Gauteng will reach a maximum of 21°C, while Johannesburg will reach a cool 20°C and Bloemfontein in the Free State will reach 21°C.

Along the coasts, Cape Town in the Western Cape will be a cold 15°C, Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will reach a mild 25°C, while Durban on the east coast of KwaZulu-Natal will reach 24°C. 

What to read next on Traveller24:

UPDATE: More strong winds could reignite #KnysnaFires

- PICS : Snow in SA's western mountain areas as fires rage in Knysna

#CapeTownStorm: Tips for dealing with extreme weather