The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said that South Africans should brace themselves for very cold temperatures from Monday, 31 May until well into the coming weekend. The dip in temperature is the result of a cold front that swept over the eastern parts of the country on Sunday night.
WET WEATHER AND SNOW ACROSS SOUTH AFRICA
SAWS said Sunday’s cold front was sustained by the development by a cut-off low-pressure system in the southeastern parts of the country, adding that the cut-off low will be responsible for the majority of the adverse weather experienced across the country over the next three days.
“This includes snowfall accumulation of between 5 to 15 centimetres over Lesotho and the Southern Drakensberg mountains in the Eastern Cape, rainfall of a disruptive nature along the Wild Coast and northeastern KwaZulu-Natal as well as wet conditions accompanied by very cold temperatures over the high lying areas of the Eastern Cape, Free State, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal,” said SAWS.
The national meteorological service singled out three provinces in particular that will be adversely affected by the weather this week, including the Eastern Cape, Free State and KwaZulu-Natal.
ROADS COULD BE CLOSED BECAUSE OF E. CAPE SNOWFALL
Heavy rains – showers and thundershowers – in the Eastern Cape is expected to result in localised flooding of roads and settlements in the Wild coast and nearby territories from 1 until 2 June (Tuesday to Wednesday).
The extremely cold conditions over the north eastern high ground of the southern Drakensberg mountains in the province will likely cause “disruptive snowfall” on Tuesday morning until Wednesday.
“This could result in major roads and mountain passes being closed as well as loss of livestock and access to some remote communities being interrupted due to snowfall or icy roads,” said SAWS.
FREE STATE STOCK FARMERS URGED TO SHELTER ANIMALS FROM WEATHER
The adverse conditions created by cold fronts and cold snaps are especially dangerous for livestock animals. SAWS is encouraging small stock farmers and residents of the eastern Free State to provide their animals with shelter to protect them from the wet, windy and very cold conditions that are expected from Monday night.
“There is also a possibility of small hail and graupel which can lead to slippery roads mainly from late Tuesday morning into the evening,” said SAWS.
Light snowfalls are predicted over the elevated areas of Clarens, Fouriesberg, Ficksburg and Memel. The R712 has been highlighted as a road that could become very slippery if the depth of the sniw reaches 1 centimetre or more.
KWAZULU-NATAL MUDHOUSES AT RISK
The temperatures in KZN are expected to drop significantly on Tuesday, especially over the Harry Gwala, uMgungundlou and uThukela district municipalities, in the western parts of the province.
Snowfall is also likely over the KZN Drakensberg mountains from Tuesday until Wednesday, with significant coverage expected of between 10 and 15 centimetres in the Lesotho region.
SAWS said the Sani pass may be closed down temporarily if there is a whiteout. Localised flooding also cannot be ruled out as disruptive rain could fall over the north-eastern parts of the province on Tuesday.
This could lead to “flooding of susceptible formal/informal settlements or roads, minor vehicle accidents due to unsafe driving conditions as wellas localised damage to mud-houses.”
The areas most likely to be affected are uMkhanyakude, eastern Zululand and eastern King Cetshawayo district municipalities.