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Johannesburg a Winter Wonderland and the Cape Braces

This past week has seen some dramatic weather across South Africa as cold conditions swept from the Western Cape through to the northern provinces, and while some good amounts of snowfalls fell on the Western Cape mountains, the real topic of conversation on everyone’s lips was the snowfall that fell through many areas of Gauteng. While it’s not unheard of for snow to fall in Johannesburg, it’s quite a rare event and is usually only extremely light and isolated, but on Tuesday the 7 August, residents of Johannesburg ran outside of their homes and office buildings to watch the snow fall around them. The temperature at mid-day on Tuesday in Johannesburg was 3.7’C and snow was falling at this point, the temperature in many parts of Gauteng did not exceed 5’C.

Social media networks were flooded with images and videos of the snow, as news stories picked up on the event and wrote articles of their own. I personally was surprised by how much snow fell in places, with many photographs looking like ‘winter wonderlands’, that could have been taken in Europe.

Looking ahead this coming weekend looks to be very exciting too, this time more so for the residents of the Western Cape as a classic strong cold front approaches from the west bringing with it some extremely rough seas, strong gale force winds, heavy rain and snow! The snow has the potential to be heavy in places on the South Western Cape mountains from early on Saturday, the forecast from indicated in excess of 15cm falling in parts of the South Western Cape mountain ranges on Saturday. Another impressive figure is the forecast for winds between 40 and 50kt in places, with warnings of strong gale force conditions, if these are to materialize it may make this one of the fronts that are remembered for a long time. Rainfall figures are also impressive with in excess of 50mm possible around the Cape.

Further abroad, the hurricane season in the Atlantic has definitely heated up. Hurricane Ernesto irritated many forecasters over the past week with models completely split on the storm, dynamic models were calling for an intensifying hurricane while the globals were calling for a decoupling of the system and then strengthening later on, and to everybody’s surprise, the globals came out on top – despite the NHC opting to go with the dynamics for the most of the forecast.

Currently there is invest 92L which stands a chance of becoming a tropical depression in the next few hours and then potentially a tropical storm, before encountering likely harsh conditions near the Caribbean.

Also of interest is a tropical wave which is just emerging off the African coast today, this wave has clear circulation already and the GFS model has been very consistent in wanting to develop it into a hurricane, so all eyes are also on that. Over all we have a very busy next week ahead of us both locally and abroad.



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