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Snowfall, gale winds and icy conditions predicted as SA braces for cold front from Monday

SOUTH AFRICA – South Africans can expect a significant drop in temperatures as a cold front has been predicted over the country from Monday. 

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“The weather system responsible for the expected winter weather is an intense cold front which will be supported by a steep upper trough from Sunday night, bringing rain showers to the south-western areas of the Western Cape. 

“Ahead of this cold front, windy conditions are expected over most areas, with strong to gale force north-westerly winds (50-70m/h) over the interior of the Western Cape,” the South African Weather Services said in a statement on Friday. 

According to SAWS, the mountains of the Western Cape and the extreme south-western areas of the Northern Cape are about to experience the first snow of 2020.

SAWS said gale force winds can also be expected but are likely to be confined to the south-western and southern coasts of the Western and Eastern Cape respectively. 

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“Furthermore, very rough to high seas, with wave heights varying between 4.5 to 6.5 m can also be expected along the Western and Eastern Cape coastline. The frontal system will introduce wintry conditions on Monday and bitterly cold daytime temperatures are expected to spread eastwards over the Cape provinces,” SAWS said. 

Communities living in the extreme south-western areas of the Western Cape should also brace themselves for a combination of cold, strong gusty winds as well as moderate rainfall. Numeric modelling currently suggests rainfall of the order of 5 to 15 mm over parts of the Western Cape, while mountainous areas are likely to experience more significant falls, possibly 20 to 30mm.

There is also a potential for localised flooding in places.

Cold conditions are also expected over Lesotho, the Free State and southern and south-western parts of the the North West Province on Monday. 

On Tuesday, snowfall is expected to spread to the central and northern interior of the Eastern Cape with widespread bitterly cold daytime temperatures expected over the entire interior, including the Cape provinces, Free State and southern KwaZulu-Natal.

“Even the southern parts of Gauteng are likely to be cold and windy on Tuesday. Snowfall is also likely to spread to include Lesotho, QwaQwa and the KZN Drakensberg mountains. While many will be excited to see snow, the public is urged to refrain from travelling to snow sites amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the current lockdown regulations,” SAWS said. 

SAWS warned that temperatures are expected to recover gradually over the Cape provinces from Wednesday onwards, although widespread morning frost could also be expected over the interior areas.

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