Prepare for more rain: Cut-off low to trigger thundershowers in these areas over weekend

Widespread thundershowers are expected to hit parts of the Free State, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape from Sunday, 28 May, due to a late autumn cut-off low pressure weather system. The inclement weather is expected to spread to the Western Cape on Monday, where heavy rainfall could possibly lead to flash flooding.

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‘Unpredictable’ cut-off low

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) said cut-off lows are fickle and difficult to predict in a statement on Friday, 26 May.

“Although the latest numerical weather prediction models are not agreeing with the intensity, position, and expected evolution of the cut-off low, similar weather systems in the past had resulted in sporadic intense rainfall, which led to flooding events,” said the weather service.

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The showers and thundershowers are expected to start over the Free State, Lesotho, Northern Cape and Eastern Cape on Sunday before spreading to the Western Cape on Monday, where they may persist over all the areas until Wednesday, 31 May.

Numerically modelled 24-hour rainfall in mm, based on the GFS model, valid for Sunday and Monday, 28 to 29 May 2023 (top) and Tuesday and Wednesday, 30 and 31 May (bottom). Image: GFS deterministic NWP model.

Cold temperatures

Heavy rainfall, in the form of thundershowers, could develop over parts of the Cape Winelands and Overberg on Monday afternoon, with the potential for flash flooding.

“Moreover, daytime temperatures are expected to remain cold (between 10°C and 16°C) over the interior of the Cape provinces and parts of the Free State from Monday to Wednesday but may be below 10°C over the southern parts of the Namakwa District and northern interior of the Western Cape,” said the weather service.

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Small stock farmers in the interior of the Cape provinces are advised that the cold and wet weather could pose a threat to livestock.

On Monday, there is also a warning for strong to near-gale-force winds along the Western Cape coast between Saldanha Bay and Plettenberg Bay.

On Wednesday, the “scorpion’s tail” of the cut-off low will continue to result in rain in the Western Cape. Rainfall and cooler temperatures are expected to spread to KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

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