Big winter storm eyeing Western Cape

Latest Satpic of Cold Front

A very strong cold front approaching western South Africa and will hit Cape Town by mid-morning on Thursday

CAPE TOWN - An intense cold front is set to hit the Western Cape and the western parts of the Northern Cape on Thursday morning bringing wintry weather to parts of western South Africa.

The cold front, which owes its intensity to an associated steep trough in the upper levels of the atmosphere, will result in adverse weather over parts of the western provinces on Thursday and on Friday.

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Heavy rain leading to localised flooding can be expected over the Cape Town Metropole, Cape Winelands, western parts of the Overberg and West Coast District on Thursday until Friday morning. Heavy downpours can be expected in these areas particularly from late morning into the afternoon hours on Thursday.

Places in the greater Cape Town area could receive rainfall amounts of between 25 and 35mm on Thursday with less rain forecast for Friday. Heavier rains are expected on the western mountains of the Western Cape where amounts way in excess of 50mm are likely on Thursday and Friday.

The cold front will not only bring much needed rain to the drought ravaged Western Cape but also result in strong winds over parts of western South Africa where conditions leading to runaway fires will develop.

Gale force north-westerly winds with speeds of between 65 and 70 km/h are expected between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas on Thursday. The winds should become moderate overnight. At the same time strong to gale force, gusty north-westerly winds of 50-70 km/h are expected over the Western Cape and Namakwa District interior on Thursday continuing into Friday. The strong winds will spread to the rest of the Northern and Western Cape provinces and reach western Free State and Eastern Cape through Thursday.

As the cold front passes through, daytime temperatures are set to plummet quite significantly for the western parts of the Northern and Western Cape on Thursday. A further cooling is expected on Friday with the cold weather spreading across the entire Western and Northern Cape Provinces. Top temperatures in the lower teens can be expected on Thursday afternoon in places in the Namakwa District and the northern parts of the Cape Winelands. Cape Town will be lucky to get any warmer than 16°C on Thursday.

Areas along the west coast especially between Cape Columbine and Cape Agulhas will experience very rough sea conditions with wave heights of betweens 4 and 6m on Thursday afternoon. Coastal damage may occur along the south-west coastal regions as the rough seas will coincide with a spring tide of 1.81m starting at 3:54pm on Thursday.

More but lighter rain showers can be expected over Cape Town and surrounding areas over the coming weekend into early next week.