‘Disruptive snowfalls’ forecast for KZN’s high areas

2014-06-06 00:00

HOLD onto your woolly hats; the weather may be a bit icy in places today.

SA Weather Services (SAWS) yesterday issued a warning for “disruptive snowfalls” over the south-western high grounds of KZN with light snowfalls spreading to Van Reenen’s Pass.

After warnings on Wednesday that Kokstad residents may get snow in their gardens, Kgolofelo Mahlangu, a forecaster at the SAWS bureau in Durban, yesterday said snow would probably not reach Kokstad after all.

“It may reach parts of Matatiele.”

N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) said about one centimetre of snow was expected along Van Reenen’s Pass in the early hours of this morning, and that the risk of ice formation on the road surface was “massive”.

Con Roux, commercial manager of N3TC, said all emergency services, law enforcement agencies, rescue and relief services and disaster management teams in the area have been mobilised and placed on high alert.

“If required, sections of the route may be closed to traffic should conditions become too dangerous and the area deemed inaccessible, in the interests of the safety of the emergency response teams and motorists.”

Salt brine applicators, graders, basic snow-blowers and ploughs have been placed at strategic points along Van Reenen’s Pass to assist with clearing the road surface in the eventuality of snow and the possible formation of black ice, said Roux.

A disaster management team with a fully-equipped mobile emergency unit and soup kitchen has been dispatched to the region, and scouts have been placed at strategic points and rescue teams are on standby to assist should motorists be trapped.

Road users can confirm the status of travel conditions with N3TC’s 24-hour Customer Careline at 0800 N3 Help (0800 63 4357) or get real-time traffic updates by following N3TC on Twitter: @N3Route

The NSPCA appealed to everyone to take special care with regard to animals in the cold.

They said SPCAs have been asked to be on alert if vehicles transporting animals become snowed in or trapped.

“Supplementary feed must be provided if natural food is unobtainable. Sick, weak or injured animals must be brought under shelter.” — WR.

• Send your snow pictures to newsed@witness.co.za or call us at 033 355 1127 to tell us your snow stories.

With the province in the grip of a strong cold front today, the good news is that the rain and clouds should roll back and provide a sunny window in the weather in Pietermaritzburg in time for the KZN Winter Airtour at Oribi Airport.

Organiser Justin Scott said the SA Air Force was due to arrive early yesterday to avoid having to fly through the cold front inland.

“But they are saying the weather for Saturday is good for flying,” he said.

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