South Africans warned to brace themselves for more bitterly cold weather

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Weather experts warn that South Africans should prepare for further bitterly cold conditions as multiple cold fronts are predicted to hit the country this winter.

Many regions are experiencing recurring weather patterns that brought snow to Gauteng last Monday.

The South African Weather Services (SAWS) issued warnings of a significant temperature drop in Gauteng from Friday heading into the weekend. The expected cold snap may bring heavy rain, strong winds, and potentially destructive snowfalls.

Various weather alerts have been released by the SAWS, including warnings of strong, damaging winds in the Northern Cape and North West, disruptive snowfalls in the Eastern Cape, and rainy conditions with reduced visibility in the Eastern half of the country. Meteorologist Joel Guy Chabata predicts that the cold snap will continue for several more days.

Chabata explains, “Temperatures will not warm up significantly across South Africa in the next week. Another cold front is expected to cool down the Cape provinces this weekend, followed by a cooling effect spreading to the eastern parts of the country early next week… Winter is still here, and we can expect several more cold fronts.”

He attributes the unusual cold snap to a combination of a high-pressure system at the Earth’s surface and a cut-off flow pressure system in the middle levels of the atmosphere, which are driving cold and moist polar air into the country.

With the increasing demand for heating homes during the cold weather, emergency services are urging residents to prioritise safety. City emergency services are providing guidelines to avoid dangerous fires and are asking residents to be mindful of risks to vulnerable communities, livestock, and driving conditions during this period.

The City of Johannesburg’s Disaster Management teams are on high alert, monitoring all seven regions of the city, especially informal settlements where residents are most vulnerable to fire incidents.

Furthermore, Eskom, the national power utility, is struggling to meet the surging energy demand for heating during the cold weather.

Due to higher-than-anticipated demand, stage 4 load shedding has been implemented from 10:00 AM, lasting until 05:00 AM on Saturday morning. Eskom has promised to provide further updates in the event of significant changes.