Strong cold front brings rain, snow and very cold conditions

30 May 2023

Alani Janeke 

A strong cold front could cause rain across the winter rain region from tomorrow, while also bringing cold and wet conditions to the eastern and south-eastern interior of the country.

A strong frontal system will move in over South Africa from Thursday and, among other things, bring rain to the winter rain region. Up to 30 mm or more rain is expected over the Rûens and South Cape while 20 mm or more rain is predicted for the Swartland, Cape metropolis and the Winelands district.

The front could be causing rain until the first week of June in this region. “Rain is also a possibility for the West Coast. There may even be rain up to the south of Namibia, but less than 10 mm to 15 mm. Lighter precipitation of up to 10 mm is also possible across the south-western interior of the Northern Cape in places such as Calvinia, Williston, Carnarvon and Sutherland,” says independent agricultural meteorologist Johan van den Berg.

“Very cold conditions with strong winds can occur from 24 May and can, along with the expected rain, create very dangerous conditions for especially small livestock,” warns Johan. “Weather models currently indicate that further heavy rainfall of up to 40 mm or more may occur over large parts of the Western Cape from about 14 to 18 June.”

Noteworthy snowfall

As the cold front moves across the country, wet and very cold conditions are forecast across the eastern and south-eastern interior from 28 May to 2 June. “This is especially expected over the northern parts of the Eastern Cape in places such as Barkly-East, Aliwal-Noord, Cradock and Queenstown, as well as in places such as Van Reenen, Underberg and Matatiele in KwaZulu-Natal. It can also be cold and wet across the South-Eastern Free State in places such as Harrismith, Fouriesburg and Smithfield.”

Very cold conditions with minimum temperatures down to -5 °C may occur in Barkly-East, Molteno, Elliot, Lady Grey, Bloemfontein, Fauresmith, Bethlehem, Zastron, Smithfield and Fouriesburg from 29 May to 2 June. There is also a chance of fairly significant snowfall over the northern parts of the Eastern Cape, south-western parts of KwaZulu-Natal, the Eastern Free State towards the Drakensberg and especially over Lesotho from 29 May to 2 June.

“Rain of 30 mm or more can occur over the coastal areas of the Eastern Cape, and by the end of May there is a danger of flooding in the Nelson Mandela metropolis,” warns Johan.

Rain and very cold conditions with temperatures below freezing may also occur over the rest of the Free State, south-eastern and eastern parts of North-West, Gauteng, the southern parts of Limpopo, the whole of Mpumalanga, as well as the rest of KwaZulu-Natal from 28 May to 2 June. Further rain is also possible from the middle to second part of June over the central to south-eastern parts of the country.

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