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It is going to get cold – so cold that the South African Weather Service has issued a red alert warning to Disaster Management Services.

On Tuesday, forecasters predict the temperature will plummet to 8°C in Joburg.

By mid-afternoon, Vereeniging will be 6°C, with Pretoria a tad warmer at 10°C. The low in Joburg is expected to be 4°C on Tuesday night.

The mercury is expected to climb to a chilly 13°C in Joburg on Wednesday.

Senior forecaster Jan Vermeulen said that with the cold weather will be 30 percent chance of thundershowers or possibly even snow.

“Rain is predicted for southern Gauteng, with Vereeniging and Heidelberg also likely to be affected,” Vermeulen said.

“Joburg might also see rain, or possibly snow,” he added.

The Weather Service’s red alert is a warning for people to take action. “We also sent an SMS to Joburg’s Disaster Management Services,” Vermeulen said.

The Weather Service has issued red alerts in six provinces, all related to falling temperatures and possible snowfalls.

The weather phenomenon responsible for the alerts is a home-grown cold front pushing its way across the country.

On Monday, a low-pressure system brought thundershowers to the western Free State.

By 4pm, the temperature was already dropping noticeably in Joburg, and heavy clouds had rolled in, while snow had blocked some roads in the Eastern Cape.

The Penhoek Pass between Queenstown and Jamestown and the Nick Malan Pass between Seymour and Whittlesea was closed. Heavy snow also fell in Cathcart and Dordrecht.

The last time Gauteng had a red alert was last month, when temperatures dropped to 9°C in Joburg.

Temperatures on the Highveld are expected to recover by Thursday.

Percy Morokane, spokesman for the Joburg Emergency Management Services (JEMS), alerted the public to the dangers of hypothermia. “People must dress warmly and not forget about their children and even their pets.”

Morokane said the last case of hypothermia the JEMS attended to was last winter, when a homeless man was found dead near Florida Lake. - The Star