Christmas Eve motorists warned of adverse weather and road conditions

Motorists travelling on Christmas Eve have been urged to exercise extreme caution in various parts of the country, as weather warnings for downpours and thunderstorms persist. The situation on South African roads during the festive period is typified by bloodshed - and while Transport Minister Fikile Mbalula has revealed that the annual number of fatalities has decreased, severe storms in the central parts of the country are cause for serious concern. The South African Weather Service (SAWS) announced that thunderstorms and downpours would persist into Christmas Day, leading to hazardous road conditions during one of the peak travel times of the festive season.

With high traffic volumes already leading to congestion on major motorways and at toll plazas, bad weather - leading to slippery road surfaces and poor visibility - does not bode well for Christmas Eve travellers. Read: Christmas Day weather forecast for all provinces and major cities

PM satellite image (24 Dec 2019) - Showers & thundershowers observed over the central and eastern parts of South Africa generally moving east to south-east. A cold front also just south-west of Cape Town.

Please be safe and take care. How is the weather where you are?@N3Route pic.twitter.com/cHYRlfq0gA

-- SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) December 24, 2019

Thunderstorms, hail and rain in the Free State

Forecasts indicate a flurry of rainfall in the south-eastern parts of the Free State, due to make landfall on Tuesday evening. Thunderstorms are likely to develop south of Bloemfontein, in the vicinity of Smithfield.

Shortly after midday on Tuesday, SAWS reported that separate thunderstorm developments, expected to be more intense than those further south, were forming close to Welkom. SAWS said:

"Severe thunderstorms with a large amount of small hail stones, heavy downpours and strong winds observed near Theunissen moving east towards the N1 within the next hour."

Christmas Day is likely to bring much of the same, with thunderstorms being forecast for most of the eastern parts of the Free State, including Senekal and Bethlehem. Motorists travelling in the area - specifically those making use of the N1 highway between Cape Town and Johannesburg and the N3 highway as a thoroughfare to Durban - have been urged to travel slowly.

KwaZulu-Natal gets thunder and rain for Christmas Eve

Thunderstorms, rain and hail are all expected in parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Christmas Eve, particularly in the midlands.

SAWS issued a warning for severe thunderstorms along with "small hail and damaging winds" in the following municipalities:

  • Umzimkhulu;
  • Umziwabantu; and
  • Ubuhlebezwe.

Western parts of eThekwini municipality are also expected to receive some showers on Christmas Eve. Furthermore, SAWS issued a warning for the extreme north eastern parts of the province, saying:

"Hot and humid weather will result in extremely uncomfortable conditions over the north-eastern parts of KZN today. Stay indoors in a cool room near a fan if possible.

The old and infirm must take extra care to stay hydrated and cool.

Avoid strenuous outdoor activity, playing excessive sport and hard labour.

Dress in light-weight clothes and drink plenty of liquids - not alcohol."

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