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According to the South African Weather Service, an intense cold front positioned to the south-west of South Africa made landfall on Monday night, with a second front following closely on Tuesday (today)…

These cold fronts are expected to result in a significant drop in temperatures, windy and wet conditions as well as snow in the western and southern parts of the country.

The cold, wet and windy conditions will first be felt in the Western and Northern Cape on Tuesday and will spread to the central parts of the country by Wednesday with temperatures expected to decrease significantly (Fig. 1) on Wednesday.

 

Figure 1: Predicted maximum temperatures for Wednesday 24 July 2019 as generated by the 16km ECMWF Model (© ECMWF) (© SAWS).

Strong winds

Strong winds will accompany these cold fronts from Monday (22 July) to Wednesday (24 July) over the Western Cape and the central and western parts of the Northern and Eastern Cape Provinces.

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These strong winds, reaching 65-75 km/h, could lead to the damage of settlements (both formal and informal), possible structural damage, especially temporary structures, interruptions to power utilities as well as an increase in travel times due to falling trees and reduced visibility due to dust storms. Susceptible roads could also be closed during this time.

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SNOW

This past weekend saw some snow reaching the ground in various high lying areas in the Western Cape. Further snow is expected once again in a similar area starting on Tuesday evening and possibly reaching more than 10 cm in places (Karoo Hoogland, Cederberg and Langeberg).

This could lead to icy roads and possible loss of vulnerable livestock as well as non-major passes being closed for a short period of time. The snow is expected to spread eastwards into the Eastern Cape by Tuesday evening reaching the Sneeuberg and southern Drakensberg.

Rain & possible flooding

The rainfall will mainly be confined to the western and southern parts of the country (Western, Northern and Eastern Cape) (Fig. 2) and will clear by Thursday (25 July 2019). The bulk of the rainfall will occur in the western parts of the Western Cape on Tuesday (23 July 2019) (Fig. 2) which could be heavy at times and lead to flooding of roads and informal settlements as well as cause major traffic disruptions. There is also a possibility of rockfalls and mudslides in places.


Figure 2: 24 hour rainfall as suggested by the ECMWF NWP model for Tuesday 23 July 2019 (© ECMWF) (© SAWS).

 

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 and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio.

Updated information in this regard will regularly be available at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic

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