Motorists warned ice may close N3

2014-06-05 00:00

BATTEN down the hatches and get ready for winter’s icy grip — the weather bureau warns the massive cold due over the weekend is the real McCoy, with snow expected in some KZN towns near the Berg.

The N3TC, which operates the N3 from Cato Ridge to Heidelberg, yesterday issued “urgent warnings” to motorists of icy roads and possible road closures in the province. Con Roux, commercial manager of N3TC warned icy road surfaces are expected in Van Reenen’s Pass between today and Sunday.

Roux said N3TC has pre-mixed brine, a simple snow blower and snow ploughs ready at Van Reenen’s Pass to limit the impact of possible snowfall and associated dangerous travelling conditions. He said if required, sections of the N3 will be closed to traffic.

Roux appealed to drivers to choose appropriate times to travel and and to pack extra blankets, food and refreshments in your vehicle in the event of a lengthy closure.

Weather forecaster Wiseman Dlamini said yesterday that the icy blast of the cold front would first be felt this afternoon, as cloud starts building up from around 2 pm, followed by rain on the South Coast, spreading later into the interior. Dlamini warned that temperatures would drop significantly — especially inland — as the front extends its reaches into the province.

“It will start getting cold [today] over the high ground. And of course the big question is what about snow?” he said.

The chances of the white stuff were good for the Drakensberg and Van Reenen’s Pass from late evening today into Friday morning, he said, and this was not restricted to mountain peaks, but could fall as far down as Matatiele and Kokstad too.

While the Cape was due to be pounded by nine-metre waves, the seas here will not reach more than 3,5 m.

Dlamini said KZN will not experience heavy rainfall.

• Road users can confirm the status of travel conditions on the N3 on a 24-hour Customer Careline 0800 63 4357; on twitter @N3Route; or on www.n3tc.co.za.

With the arrival of a strong cold front today, the good news is that the grey rain and clouds should roll back and provide a window in the weather in Pietermaritzburg on Saturday in time for the KZN Winter Airtour air show at Oribi Airport.

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

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

The Salvation Army has appealed to people to come forward with blankets and food for people in need.

Members of the public can assist by donating blankets or warm clothing, which they can take to The Salvation Army corps (church) or the organisation’s divisional headquarters in their region.

Alternatively, contribute financially by sending an SMS with the word BLANKET to 42290 to donate R30 towards the cause.

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