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Is Winter Here?

Residents of the Western Cape are probably wondering, “Where did that come from?” – A very moderate Autumn thus far gave way to a strong cold front which saw freezing levels drop to near 1500m making snow a possibility for many surrounding mountain ranges. It’s not often that we see snow in the Western Cape so early in the year and most weren’t expecting it given the fairly high temperatures seen over the past few weeks to 2 months.

It started on Wednesday already when a weak cold front made landfall in the Cape Town area, though this front only brought moderate shower activity and temperatures remained quite mild. The weakened was a mixed bag with some warm temperatures in the area between the two fronts. Monday night was when the main change in weather would be felt when temperatures suddenly dipped down to around the 10 degree mark with Grabouw having a maximum forecast temperature of just 11’C on Tuesday the 26th of April, this is usually the lowest we see max temperatures going in the area.

As was predicted the freezing level fell to heights which allowed for light snowfall to take place on mountains of the Western Cape, and while the front itself was already moving in a north east direction, there was a wake of cold air behind the front which invaded on edge of a high pressure cell which is pushing in now over the west. This area of cold air is expected to push north over the next day or so and night time temperatures over the interior could fall below 0.

This of course was only one bout of weather though and is no clear indication that winter is with us, but what it does show us is that the jet stream is moving north and allowing for such systems to impact the country already. It’s been a while since we’ve seen a proper winter wind event, could this year be the one?

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