Weather Update: Thunderstorms and flash floods expected in places over SA's east

2017-12-04 19:57 - Kavitha Pillay
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Cape Town - South African Weather Service (SAWS) warns that heavy rain and thunderstorms can be expected over SA's east on Tuesday, 5 December.

Flooding and thunderstorm alerts

According to SAWS, widespread rainy conditions will start from Monday, 4 December, over the central and eastern parts of the country. "The rain is expected to become heavy - more than 50 mm in a 24 hours period - in places from Tuesday until Wednesday, leading to a serious risk of flash flooding," warns SAWS in a statement.

Areas that will be mostly affected will be central and eastern North West, northern and north-eastern Free State, Gauteng, southern Mpumalanga, as well as north-western KwaZulu-Natal and the Midlands.

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On Tuesday, a 30%-80% chance of rain is expected from central parts of the Northern and Eastern Capes over SA's eastern parts, with rain across all provinces except the Western Cape.

SAWS explains that this active weather will be as a result of an approaching trough (extension of low pressure) in the upper levels of the atmosphere interacting with the moist and unstable air from the tropics.

"Indications are that some places may receive as much as 100mm in a 36-48 hour period. This would result in potential incidents of flooding.

"In addition, severe storms are possible on Tuesday in the north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape, where strong winds, hail and possibly heavy downpours can be expected. On Wednesday, the heaviest rain is expected along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal where there will the added effect of the low-level onshore flow of the wind caused by the ridge of the surface high pressure system," says SAWS.

Here's what can be experienced in affected areas:

  • Flooding of roads and settlements.
  • Occasional poor road visibility.
  • Fast flowing streams pose danger to life.
  • Displacement of affected communities.
  • Damage to property, infrastructure and loss of livelihood.

Precautions to take during flooding

If walking outdoors, SA Weather Service advises to avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. "Just 15cm of fast-moving flood water can knock a person off their feet and a depth of 60cm feet is enough to float a car. Never drive on a road covered by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away," warns SAWS.

"If trapped within a vehicle by rising waters, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground," says SAWS, adding that people must listen to warnings and be even more cautious at night when it is harder to see flood dangers.


"The increase in cloud tomorrow [Tuesday] will also result in the lowering of daytime temperatures, especially over Free State and North West," says SAWS.

Minimum temperatures will be cold over south-western parts of SA and cool throughout the rest of the country.

Sutherland in Northern Cape will be the coldest place in the country, dropping to 9°C.

Maximum temperatures on Tuesday will be warm to hot on the west of the country, and cool to cold over the east. 

The hottest place in SA will be Upington in Northern Cape, reaching a sweltering 35°C.

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

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

Along the coastal regions, Cape Town in the Western Cape will be a hot 29°C, while KZN's Durban will see a warm 24°C. Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape will be 23°C.

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