Weather Update: Intense cold front to usher in stormy weekend, traffic disruptions expected

2017-07-13 21:03 - Selene Brophy
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Cape Town - Cool to warm conditions can be expected across South Africa on Friday 14 July, but it is essentially the quiet before the storm says the SA Weather Service.

While Friday will see patches of rain across south-eastern parts of the Northern Cape, north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, southern parts of the Free State as well as the upper western parts of KwaZulu-Natal - conditions are set to get worse as the weekend progresses.

The SA Weather Service has been monitoring a cold front expected to make landfall over the Western Cape from Saturday, 15 July overnight into the early hours of Sunday morning, 16 July 2017. It has since debunked false messages claiming it would twice as bad as the intense storm that hit the Western Cape at the beginning of June. 

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.

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

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. "

Temperatures for Friday - Click here to see the specific forecast for your city over the next few days

On Friday, the coldest place in SA will once again be Sutherland in Northern Cape will drop to  -8°C and Calvinia will reach a freezing -2°C. Cradock in the Eastern Cape is expected to drop to -1°C.

SEE: Whale Watching: A must-do winter experience

Maximum temperatures on Friday will cool to warm across the country, with the hottest places in SA expected to be Musina and Lephalale in Limpopo reaching a high of 27°C. 

In Gauteng, Pretoria will reach 26°C and Johannesburg will be 25°C, while Bloemfontein in the Free State will see a high of 23°C.

Along the coastal regions, Cape Town in the Western Cape will be a nippy 18°C, KwaZulu-Natal's Durban will reach 22°C and Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will also be a cool 18°C. 

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