How snow can you go?

2010-06-16 00:00

SOUTH Africa, and KwaZulu-Natal in particular, were left in no doubt yesterday that winter has well and truly settled in.

Light to medium snow fell in some regions, and very cold temperatures were recorded around the province.

Snow fell consistently yesterday morning in Kokstad, with light snow at Sani Pass, Nottingham Road and Matatiele.

Further afield, there were heavy snowfalls in parts of the Free State and the Western Cape, and even a dusting on Table Mountain.

Joanne Strydom, the manager at Mooidraai Guesthouse near Kokstad, said snow started falling at about 7 am. “It was light, but it covered the tips of the mountains.”

At around 10.45 am, the snow began to come down harder, but by late afternoon it had stopped snowing in the Kokstad area, leaving only icy puddles.

Freezing temperatures and snow were experienced at Sani Top Chalet yesterday, said manager Roger Aldous.

“We have had mean temperatures. We are attached to an outdoor weather station and it says it’s -8°, and with the wind chill it says -17°,” Aldous said yesterday afternoon.

 

“The snowfall was not thick, — you could see the soil beneath — but there has been a lot of wind and cloud around so we are expecting more snow later,” Aldous added.

Lungi Mtolo of Thaba Tours in Underberg said they also experienced light snowfall yesterday.

“It stopped later in the morning and the temperature has dropped. It’s very cold here … about 3°,” said Mtolo.

Jane Maree from Nottingham Road said that “flaky snow” was falling in the morning, but it stopped after lunch.

“But it is still freezing here even though it is not white,” said Maree.

Some guesthouse owners think the snow will keep customers away, but others believe it will attract more tourists.

Strydom said she thinks the icy white will deter people “because they are afraid of getting stuck in the snow”.

But Nita Gargan, owner of Guinea Fowl Roost Guesthouse in Kokstad, said “guests love the snow; they don’t see the other negative sides of it that we do”.

“I had people calling to ask if I had a room open so they could come see the snow, and I had to tell them that unfortunately it had stopped,” said Gargan.

Weather throughout the province should be more bearable today, although the SA Weather Bureau predicts “morning black frost over the south and western interior”.

A forecaster with the KZN Weather Bureau said it is not issuing any warnings of very cold weather.

“Temperatures will be cold, but not very cold. Temperatures are expected to range between 10° and 20°,” she said.

The KwaZulu-Natal Weather Bureau predicts very rough seas along the KZN coast, “with wave heights in excess of 4,5 metres in the morning”.

Zinhle Mngomezulu, spokesperson for the Road Traffic Inspectorate, said no roads have been closed in the province due to the snow, but she warned road closures could occur today.

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