The SA Weather Service has warned of a week of very cold temperatures across most of the country from Monday, lasting into the weekend.
The cold temperatures come courtesy of a cold front that moved over the eastern parts of the country on Sunday evening, sustained by the development of a cut-off low-pressure system over the southeastern part of the country.
“The cut-off low-pressure system will be responsible for the majority of adverse weather expected over the next three days,” the service said.
It said the inclement weather included a forecast of snowfall of between 5cm and 15cm over Lesotho and the southern Drakensberg mountains in the Eastern Cape, rainfall 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 KZN.
The service said showers and thundershowers were expected over the southern and eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, with the possibility of localised flooding of roads and settlements along the Wild Coast and adjacent interior from Tuesday into Wednesday.
“Moreover, cold conditions are expected over Eastern Cape, with very cold conditions over the northeastern high ground of the southern Drakensberg, where disruptive snowfalls are expected from tomorrow [Tuesday] morning into Wednesday morning.
“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 by snowfall or icy roads.”
The weather services has advised small stock farmers and the public of the eastern Free State to provide shelter for their animals. It added that there was a possibility of small hail and graupel, which could lead to slippery roads mainly from late Tuesday morning into the evening.
“Light snowfalls are expected over the high-lying areas of Clarens, Fouriesburg, Ficksburg and Memel which can cause slippery roads, especially on the R712, and should the accumulated snowfall reach 1cm or more, this section of road could be closed. Therefore the public is advised to avoid these areas and to rather stay home — and indoors if possible.
“Heavier snowfalls may occur over Phuthaditjhaba, where the community is advised to take the necessary precautions to stay warm and dry in the safest manner possible.”
Temperatures are expected to drop significantly over KZN from Tuesday, especially over extreme western parts — including the Harry Gwala, uMgungundlovu and uThukela district municipalities.
“Consequently, the Sani Pass may be temporarily closed by snow. There is also a possibility of disruptive rain over the northeastern parts of KZN tomorrow afternoon into evening, leading to possible localised flooding of susceptible formal/informal settlements or roads, minor vehicle accidents due to unsafe driving conditions, as well as localised damage to mud-based houses.”
It added that areas over uMkhanyakude, eastern Zululand and eastern King Cetshwayo district municipalities are likely to be particularly affected.
by Shonisani Tshikalange