ALERT: 3-day cold snap to affect most of SA, bringing disruptive snow, heavy rain and gale-force wind

Cape Town - South Africans can expect a cold snap to affect most the country during the latter part of this week - from Wednesday onwards.

The South African Weather Service says particularly cold daytime temperatures are expected to dominate the south-western parts on Wednesday, 16 August 2017, spreading to include the central and eastern parts on Thursday.

Significant snowfall expected to shut majority of mountain passes

SA Weather spokesperson Garth Sampson says significant snowfall can also be expected over the southern and central Drakensberg - "with some places in the high-lying central and eastern interior are likely to experience daytime temperatures of the order of only 5 to 10 degrees Celsius for up to 3 consecutive days".

Snowfall could be heavy over the north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, possibly leading to the closure of the majority of mountain passes in the region as well as associated disruption of traffic flow.

Rain and showers are expected over the south-western parts of the country on Tuesday and Wednesday.

KZN coast and adjacent interior expect heavy rainfall, flooding, disruptive winds

By Thursday, rainfall is expected to move eastwards, with the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal particularly well-favoured to receive widespread rainfall. These provinces may even experience heavy rainfall as well as localised flooding, especially along the coast and adjacent interior regions.

"Along much of the southern coastline, periods of strong, gusty winds combined with moderate seas are expected. There is, however, a strong likelihood that gale force winds of a damaging nature as well as rough to very rough sea conditions may develop along the Wild Coast and KwaZulu-Natal on Thursday."

Sampson says these extreme weather conditions are due to the development of an intense trough (an extension of a low pressure) in the upper portions of the atmosphere, which is expected to move over the country on Wednesday.

Thereafter, the trough is likely to intensify further, becoming a so-called cut-off low pressure system on Thursday, 17 August 2017.

The forecast indicates that the weather system is expected to exit the country by Friday 18 August, "when rainfall will be restricted to the eastern extremities of the country, heralding a return to dry, settled weather this weekend".

The South African Weather Service says it monitor further developments and issue subsequent updates as required. 

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