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Big Snow Totals Possible For Lesotho This Weekend

The latest model guidance is looking extremely positive for snow enthusiasts in the north-eastern parts of the country, with the possibility for heavy snow in both Lesotho and the far NE parts of the Eastern Cape. For those who may not have been following this event, we have been tracking the progress of the forecast models for days now, with numerous “flip-flop” scenarios. Despite the models showing more consensus with a more trustworthy time frame, a lot still relies on the details of the cut-off low.

The cut-off low is set to develop tomorrow and move rapidly eastwards into Saturday. The first effects of the low will be heavy rain over the Karoo area with the possibility for rainfall exceeding 40mm in a 12 hour period, with this kind of rainfall rate there is also the potential for flooding to occur.

snow-animation

Animated gif showing the expected time frame in which the low is forecast to bring both heavy rains and snow to areas.
Image from Snow-Forecast

snow-lesotho

Models showing impressive 6 hour totals of snow.
Image from Snow-Forecast

It seems likely that the first snow may begin to fall in Lesotho early on Saturday morning, though freezing levels will continue to drop dramatically throughout Saturday, and by the evening they look to be around the 2500 meter level, which would provide an excellent chance for good amount of snowfalls along many of the mountains in the area. By afternoon the Eastern Cape may begin to see its first snowfalls, which will then increase into the evening. While at this stage Eastern Cape snowfall looks very restricted to the extreme NE of the province, it’s looking likely that Barkley East will be within range of the snowfalls.

Totals around Lesotho are looking extremely good, with the 6 hour totals for 8pm on Saturday indicating between 15 and 25cm of snow, eerily similar to the original long range GFS outlook from this weekend.

spaghetti-charts-snow

Spaghetti chart showing current ensemble variance in forecast timing and position of cut-off low.

A noteworthy aspect about this event will be the time frame in which is occurs, the system will be moving quickly to the east which can be both good and bad news. The faster moving systems tend to be a bit harder to predict as there is less of a window for the timings of moisture and freezing levels to sync, but the good news is that if snow does fall – it’s less likely to be melted by lingering showers and makes for good chasing conditions.

It is certainly worth noting that while the models have been more consistent with their outlooks in recent runs, this event remains one of low certainty and is still subject to changes. However, things are definitely looking good for those of you looking to head through and see snow this weekend.

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