Stormy weather expected on last voter registration weekend

Friday, January 25, 2019

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has urged those who will register to vote for the upcoming elections this weekend to practice caution as stormy weather can be expected in five of the country’s provinces.

“With South Africa going into voter registration weekend, the eastern parts of the country can expect stormy weather as from Friday, 25 until Sunday, 27 January 2019. The affected provinces will be north-eastern Free State, western KwaZulu-Natal, Gauteng, Mpumalanga and Limpopo,” said the weather service.

Storms in some of these areas may become severe and may include a combination of large and small hail as well as heavy downpours, which could lead to localised flooding and strong, damaging winds.

The risk for severe storms will be the highest over the Mpumalanga Highveld and southern Limpopo on Friday, spreading west on Saturday.

“The possible impacts from these expected conditions include road flooding resulting in travel disruptions and damage to infrastructure. It is thus recommended that extra caution should be taken when erecting temporary structures for voter registration purposes.”

These extreme conditions are a result of the presence of an upper air trough (extension of a low pressure) over the central parts of the country.

This will be in combination with a ridge of a low-level high pressure system, which will be positioned southeast of the country.

It will be much cooler over the eastern half of the Eastern Cape, KwaZulu-Natal and the Highveld of Mpumalanga on Saturday, with the cooler air expected to spread to Gauteng and Limpopo on Sunday.

Elsewhere in the country, it will be sunny and hot over the central and western parts.

The weather service advised the public to take heed of the following precautionary measures when encountering flooding:

  • If trapped in a flooding situation whilst in a vehicle, it is preferable to abandon it and climb to higher ground.
  • In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building.
  • In rural areas, the safety of livestock can be assured by relocating them to a safe place on higher ground, preferably before the onset of inclement weather.

On Thursday, Home Affairs Minister Siyabonga Cwele said his department is ready to assist those who will require identity documentation to help them register for the upcoming elections. 

Home Affairs offices across the country will open on Saturday and Sunday from 08h00 to 17h00. 

Earlier, this week the Independent Electoral Commission (IEC) announced that it is ready to receive millions of South Africans who will at the weekend take to voting stations to register or confirm their details as the commission prepares for the national and provincial elections later this year. -