Weather warning issued

2011-06-06 00:00

WEATHER forecasters yesterday warned the country to brace itself for cold weather with widespread unseasonal rain, expected to be heavy in some areas.

The SA Weather Service, described a “significant weather system that is expected to bring a wet and cold week.”

“While snowfalls are expected on the mountains, at present the main feature of this weather system is the risk of heavy rainfall in some areas.”

Mkhushulwa Msimanga, senior forecaster at the National Forecast Centre told The Witness that the midlands stood a good chance of rain during the week, but that the South Coast would see the heavier falls.

He said Wednesday would bring scattered showers and thundershowers in central, southern and western KZN with widespread showers near the Drakensberg and heavy rain in southern KZN, defined as greater than 50 mm in 24 hours.

On Thursday predictions are that the whole of KZN would experience scattered showers, becoming widespread in the evening, with possible heavy falls on the South Coast, continuing on Friday.

Msimanga warned that temperatures are likely to drop, and that significant snow could be expected on the Drakensberg.

Most of the country will experience rain and very windy conditions will prevail in parts of the interior on Tuesday and Wednesday. He said there is uncertainty about the behaviour of the weather system as it exits the country later in the week.

Msimanga explained that a steep upper air trough will develop along the west coast today, intensifying rapidly, and developing into a cut-off low pressure system situated over southern Namibia by Tuesday afternoon.

“This cut-off low pressure system will migrate slowly eastwards over the country on Tuesday and Wednesday, exiting the country on Friday. The development of a surface low offshore of the country from Thursday through to Friday is likely to enhance onshore flow to the coast, generating heavy rainfall along some parts of the coastal belt.”

He said the positioning of this surface low and resultant heavy rainfall is presently uncertain.

Msimanga said the weather system was unusual and that while cut-off lows are common each year, they tend to occur mostly during spring and autumn. He said it was not linked to the recent La Nina episode and heavy rainfall experienced during the summer.

“The ‘El Nino – Southern Oscillation’ (ENSO) is currently in a neutral phase and expected to stay that way through the winter.”

Updated forecasts will be available on www.weathersa.co.za.

 

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