A well-developed cold front is expected to hit parts of South Africa later today (9 July), bringing with it bitterly cold, wet and windy weather conditions, according to the South African Weather Service (SAWS).
SAWS added that a second cold front would follow shortly thereafter.
The SAWS issued a warning that heavy rain was to be expected over the Cape Metropole, the Winelands and Overberg regions, as well as the escarpment of the West Coast region, which could lead to possible flooding.
It added that gale force winds of between 60km/h and 75km/h along with “high sea conditions” were also some of the extreme winter weather phenomena that could be expected from these well-developed cold fronts.
According to the SAWS, very cold conditions would set in over the Western Cape and the southern high grounds of the Northern Cape on Friday, spreading eastwards over the weekend, with light, non-disruptive snowfalls expected on the mountainous areas of the Western Cape and southern high grounds of the Northern Cape.
“Snowfalls are also expected to extend as far north as the southern parts of Namibia from late Friday and into Saturday, and eastwards into the Free State and the Eastern Cape provinces,” a statement by SAWS said.
The statement also warned about a significant drop in daytime temperatures that would be experienced over the remainder of the interior on Saturday, as the frontal system moved eastwards and exited the country along the North Coast of KwaZulu-Natal by Sunday, with isolated to scattered rain and showers spreading over KwaZulu-Natal.
According to Richard Krige, Grain SA’s representative in the Overberg region and a grain farmer near Caledon, the impending cold fronts were putting farmers in a catch-22 situation.
“We welcome the good precipitation and we want cold fronts to come through and give us showers and widespread rain because the more rainfall we get the more we harvest. However, along with good rainfall and cold, there are always some losses involved.”
He said that with this kind of weather, there could be quite significant losses among very young lambs. He added that if farmers had sheared recently, which could also be problematic.
According to Krige, the potential for a good winter cropping season was improving. “If good cold fronts can keep coming through strongly then hopefully, we will get late rain as well, which is really important for kernel filling towards the end of the season. We really need it this year.”