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The South African Weather Service is monitoring the development of a cut-off low pressure system which is set to affect the country from early this week…
Widespread showers and thundershowers are expected from Monday until Wednesday over the following provinces: Eastern parts of North West, northern and eastern Free State, Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. There is potential for some areas to receive significant amounts of rainfall from this weather system, and this may result in localized flooding in places (see figure 1 below for expected rainfall for Monday).
Due to the expected extent of cloudiness, temperatures are also expected to drop significantly from the current mild conditions being experienced over much of the country. It will be cold from late Monday over most of the eastern interior of the country until Thursday. (See figure 2 below for expected maximum temperatures for Tuesday).
Snowfalls are also possible over Lesotho Mountains during this period.
A cut-off low developed on Sunday along the west coast before moving overland is expected to be situated near the border of North West and Free State provinces by midday on Monday.
This will result in widespread thundershowers over the north-eastern provinces which will persist into Tuesday as the low pressure system is expected to move only slightly eastwards. The risk for heavy rain remains on Tuesday for Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.
By Wednesday the weather system will be over Mpumalanga, resulting in partial clearance in the west, however, the north-eastern parts of KwaZulu-Natal can still expect some showers as the air-flow will still be favourable for the area. The KwaZulu-Natal north coast and adjacent areas will still be at risk of further heavy rains on this day, into Thursday morning.
Conditions all round are set to improve from Thursday afternoon onwards, with a gradual recovery in daytime temperatures.
Figure 1: Expected accumulated rainfall (mm) on the 14 May 2018 (©ECMWF).
Figure 2: Expected maximum temperatures (deg C) on the 15 May 2018 (©ECMWF).
We advise the public to take heed of the following precautionary measures when encountering flooding: If possible stay indoors and off the roads, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles. If trapped in a flooding situation whilst in a vehicle, rather abandon it and climb to higher ground. In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building.
In rural areas protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground
Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended by duly authorized officials, before access is cut off by flood water. NEVER drive on a road covered or obscured by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away. If the vehicle stalls, leave it immediately and seek higher ground. Be especially cautious at night when it is difficult to identify flood hazards. Listen to the radio or TV for warnings and obey the instructions from Disaster Management officials.
The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required. Furthermore, the public are urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio.
Updated information can also be found at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic
Compiled by: Jan Vermeulen and Kgolofelo Mahlangu