Disruptive snowfalls, thundershowers, strong winds and freezing temperatures are expected over the south-western parts of KZN this weekend, warns the South African Weather Service (SAWS).
Thandiwe Gumede, a weather forecaster at the SA Weather Service, said that later on Friday, a cold front is expected to pass through KZN.
“That cold front is associated with an upper air system called the upper trough. After the passing of the cold front, we can experience cloudy conditions coming up from the south as well as some isolated showers and thundershowers scattered in the extreme southern parts of the province.”
She said the affected areas will include Margate, Port Shepstone, Harding, Kokstad and other surrounding areas.
Moving to Saturday, Gumede said the upper trough system is expected to move to the interior of the country.
“After the passing of the cold front that’s when we get the freezing levels where temperatures are expected to drop significantly particularly in areas south of KZN including Umzimkhulu, Underberg, Kokstad, Mooi River, Estcourt, Giant’s Castle, Cathedral Peak and surrounding areas.”
She said snow is also expected to fall in the south-western parts of the province. The affected areas will include Greater Kokstad, Underberg, Mpendle, Sobabili, Mooi-Mpofana, Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, uMngeni and Umzimkhulu.
Gumede said the snow is expected to be disruptive and is expected to fall from Saturday morning and last throughout the day.
Also on Saturday, there is an 80% chance of rain, thundershowers, and scattered showers in the southern parts of the province.
Gumede said on Saturday they are also expecting the southerly and south westerly winds which were already being experienced on Friday.
“Areas down south like Margate, coming up Scottsburg and Durban along the coast have already started experiencing the change in the wind because earlier in the morning it was quite warm, and the wind was dry and dusty. Areas along the south coast have started cooling because of the change in wind direction.”
On Saturday, Gumede said they are expecting the wind speeds to increase along the coast.
She said Sunday will remain fairly cold and people can only expect temperatures to start improving from Monday.
Meanwhile, on Friday Working on Fire said five firefighting teams were out battling plantation fires in different parts of KZN including Bergville, Nkandla and Eshowe.
KZN MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Sipho Hlomuka, has placed his department’s disaster management teams on alert following the weather warning issued by the South African Weather Service, which indicated an increased risk of disruptive snowfall in areas in the Harry Gwala, uMgungundlovu and uThukela districts.
Hlomuka has urged residents to exercise extreme caution by monitoring weather conditions prior to making any journey.
“We are pleading with communities to ensure that they take the necessary precautions as the weather conditions pose a risk to human life. Our disaster management teams will monitor major routes and areas that are prone to incidents,” said Hlomuka.
The MEC has also called on residents residing in areas that might be affected to stay indoors and keep warm.
“In our efforts to keep warm, we once again urge caution, especially those who use generators and braziers. Those who might be travelling on our roads, it is important that they stay up to date on the weather conditions on the routes they plan to utilise. We also appeal to farmers and pet owners to ensure that their animals have adequate shelter,” said Hlomuka.
The provincial disaster management centre will continue to liaise with all the disaster centres in the province’s districts in order to monitor the inclement weather conditions and respond when needed.