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Massive storm fronts, snow hit SA

Two cold fronts are set to hit SA this week. Picture: Aditya Vitas on Unsplash

The icy blustering winds overnight on Wednesday into Thursday morning were warning that the anticipated weather system was arriving in SA. The first of two fronts smashed into the Western Cape on Thursday afternoon.

The SA Weather Service issued numerous alerts on social media this week, including: “Bitterly cold, wet and windy weather expected over parts of South Africa over the next few days. Gale force winds, heavy rain, snow, and very cold conditions will be imminent from Thursday (July 9 2020) as two #ColdFronts make landfall.”

The Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Lesotho and possibly KZN are set for snowfall in the next few days.

Image of the weather system approaching the Cape, posted on SA Weather’s Twitter account.

Some of the anticipated impacts are (according SA Weather on Twitter) gale force winds at the coast and parts of the interior, rough, choppy seas, the threat of runaway fires and possible localised flooding. Heavy snowfall (40cm) is a possibility in the high-lying parts of the Western Cape. (Watch the video below of a truck being blown over by wind in the Western Cape on Thursday.)

As we’ve already seen, the KZN Midlands has been hit by strong, gusting winds. The Weather Service said on Twitter that dry air, combined with abundant late winter grassland fuel created a particular fire hazard on Thursday and Friday.

Snow Report SA in its report on Thursday said:

“A significant snowfall looks likely from Thursday night or the early hours of Friday morning for the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal, the Free State, North West and Lesotho. Very light snow may also fall on the high-peaks in Namibia.

“The data indicates that low-level snow that is accessible by vehicle is possible in some of these areas. While the snow is expected to be light at lower levels in most places, and as much as 40cm may fall on some of the high-peaks in the Western Cape. Snow is expected to fall through Friday and Saturday.”

Snow Report said in KwaZulu-Natal, if there was snow, it would likely just be on the peaks of the Drakensberg on the Lesotho border.

“In Lesotho: Snow possible across the whole country, with the heaviest snow in the south-west. AfriSki is likely to get around 5cm of snow.”

There is even the possibility of snow in the mountainous parts of Namibia, as the region’s “Monster storm” is set to hit our shores.

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