South Africa is in for a bizarre mix of weather, and it comes as something of a climatic shock. This Sunday, July 30, 2023, is shaping up to be one for the record books, with its disruptive rains perhaps triggering floods and its heavy snowfall affecting the health of cattle and crops.
The Meteorological Organisation Issues a Warning
The South African Weather Service has been at the forefront of providing accurate predictions and timely warnings of the numerous weather-related hazards facing the country. There are six distinct levels of weather alerts, from “Orange” (disruptive rains) to “Yellow” (damaging winds and possible threats to coastal navigation).
Important Weather Alerts
- The coastal areas of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape are under a Level 6 Orange Warning for heavy rains and the risk of flooding.
- The threat of disruptive snowfall, endangering cattle, crops, and community access in the Western Cape and Northern Cape districts, triggering Yellow Level 4 Warning.
- Coasts between Cape Point and Plettenberg Bay, Port Edward, and Richards Bay should brace for wind and wave disruptions; this is a Yellow Level 2 Warning.
- Level 5 Orange Warning Issued for the Coast from Plettenberg Bay to Port Edward due to the risk for damage to coastal facilities from strong winds and waves.
- Disruptive snow likely in the northern and central high grounds of Eastern Cape; pass closures and hazardous driving conditions possible; loss of susceptible livestock possible; yellow level 2 warning.
- Strong winds are likely to cause problems for high-sided trucks and localised settlement damage in the interior of the
- Eastern Cape, prompting a Yellow Level 2 Warning.
- South Africans around the country should take these warnings seriously, as they stress the importance of being prepared for what might be a very stormy weekend.
Taking the Temp: Local Conditions in the Provinces
Conditions will range from fine to partly cloudy in Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo. Extremely cold weather is on the way for the states of Free State, Northern Cape, and North West, and isolated showers and snowfall are possible.
Snow, scattered showers, and strong winds are all potential in the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, and KwaZulu-Natal. The UVB Sunburn Index is low in Western Cape and high in Kwazulu-Natal, thus those living near the coast may experience disturbances owing to the winds.
Predictions from the Experts
South Africans are keeping their cool despite the coming weather drama. Johan Van Der Merwe, a weather enthusiast from the Langeberg area, exclaimed, “It’s not every day we see such a diverse mix of weather conditions.” The natural world seems to be putting on a show.
Maryanne Du Plessis, a local of the Cape Winelands, voiced some reservations: “It’s not only about enjoying the snowfall. This is about the danger that could befall our livestock. We’re getting ready, but it’s nerve-wracking waiting.
The Big Picture
Although South Africa has seen several climatic extremes before, it is unusual for so many different kinds of weather to coexist at once. Changes in recent years’ weather patterns have been widely attributed to rising global temperatures, say scientists. The frequency, severity, and potential long-term repercussions of these events are being closely tracked by scientists around the world. South Africa is currently preparing for historic weather on Sunday.