Below zero: Temperatures expected to reach -7 in some areas

2009-08-03 00:00

WITH snow covering the Drakensberg and the cold snap set to continue, people living in the Drakensberg, Mooi River and Van Reenen will be wanting to stay in bed a little longer to avoid having to cope with extreme temperatures over the next few days.

Snow is currently covering the Drakensberg Mountains at Cathkin Peak, Champagne Castle, Hartberg and the Malutis, with heavy falls reported in Lesotho and on Sani Pass.

Ray Watt of Thaba Tours in Underberg said it started snowing late on Saturday, mainly in Lesotho, although some snow did come down on the South African side. “Underberg is clear at the moment,” he added, “but I think the big one is coming.”

Watt said his company had cancelled tours up Sani Pass because of concerns over visibility and safety.

Another tour operator, Murray Cairns of Underberg-based Sani Pass Tours, said the misty conditions made it difficult to see exactly where the snow had fallen, but he was able to confirm that one of the company’s guides reported about 10 cm of snow falling in the Sani Pass area.

The South African Weather Service is warning that temperatures in Underberg will drop to minus two today and then plummet to minus seven tomorrow, with a warning of black frost — a dry freeze that results in the internal freezing and death of vegetation. Underberg’s daytime maximums will be 14ºC today and 18ºC tomorrow.

At Giants Castle, today’s minimum temperature will be 1ºC and the maximum is 14ºC. Tomorrow the low is minus two and the high 16ºC.

Residents in Mooi River and Ladysmith should also wrap-up warmly tomorrow. The lows will be minus five and minus one respectively, with the highs 20ºC in Mooi River and 19ºC in Ladysmith. Black frost is also being forecast in Mooi River.

Pietermaritzburg will peak at a slightly more comfortable 21ºC today.

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