Cape Town - The South African Weather Service (SAWS) warned that large parts of South Africa would be experiencing widespread rainfall and bitterly cold weather conditions over the weekend as a result of the steep upper-air trough system that developed into a cut-off low pressure system.
Bitterly cold conditions were experienced over the western and southern parts of the country during Thursday and would be spreading to the central and eastern parts by Friday and Saturday.
Cape Town Weather Office forecaster Kate Turner said people should prepare for an extremely cold and rainy weekend because of the cut-off low pressure system.
“We are expecting a large amount of rain over our interior in the Western Cape and eastern parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Northern Cape,” Turner said.
SAWS said the upper-air trough intensified during Thursday and caused widespread rainfall over the eastern parts of the Western Cape and the western parts of the Eastern Cape for the weekend.
A yellow level 2 warning for disruptive rainfall was expected in these areas, as well as the central and south-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, as the rainfall was predicted to result in localised flooding of susceptible roads and bridges as well as flooding in informal settlements.
Due to the lowering of atmospheric freezing levels, combined with abundant moisture in the lower layers of the atmosphere, SAWS also expected snowfalls as deep as 2cm to 5cm during Friday over the eastern high-lying areas of the Western Cape, western high-lying areas of the Eastern Cape, the extreme south-eastern high-lying areas of the Northern Cape and the southern high ground of the Free State.
“Heavier snowfall of 10 to 20cm can be expected over the north-eastern high ground of the Eastern Cape, the Drakensberg region of KwaZulu-Natal and the Lesotho mountains from Friday evening into Saturday morning,” the weather service said.
It further said that thunderstorms, combined with strong, gusty surface winds, were expected over the central interior by Friday afternoon, spreading to Gauteng, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal in the evening and parts of Limpopo by Saturday. Warnings in this regard would be issued if necessary.
“Due to the pre-existing condition of water-saturated soils in parts of KwaZulu-Natal, rainfall amounts exceeding 20mm are likely to lead to localised flooding. It is therefore important for communities to take the necessary precautions to prepare for such conditions,” SAWS said.
Rainy conditions were expected to continue over the eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga and the northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal during Sunday; however, the public could look forward to a general clearing of weather conditions as well as a recovery in daytime temperatures from Monday onwards as the system exits the country.