Highly anticipated snowfall turns into a damp squib

2015-07-27 09:18
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THIS weekend’s highly anticipated heavy snowfalls and rain turned out to be a bit of a damp squib.

Heavy snowfalls did occurr in the higher reaches of the Drakensberg mountains, but a bit too far away for the hordes of people who’d anticipated spending the weekend deep in snow, making snowmen.

Instead they had to settle for light rainfall across the province, freezing temperatures and, in some instances, icy-cold howling winds.

Weather forecaster Stacy Colborne said there was light snowfall in Matatiele, Giant’s Castle and Kokstad.
However, she said the snow was expected to disappear quickly when the temperatures start rising tomorrow.

“The weather is expected to remain cool until Tuesday and the snow will melt,” she said.
An official at the Nolangeni Hotel in Kokstad said the area was very cold.

“There was no snow in the town at all. It only snowed in the Drakensberg mountains and that is very far from where we are, but it is still icy cold.”

Another official at the Ukhozi Lodge in Winterton said the snow was nice and thick in the mountains yesterday morning.

“It is quickly disappearing now. It should still be here tomorrow, but I do not think it will be around the day after tomorrow.”

He said the snow started falling on the main Drakensberg range on Saturday and yesterday morning.

“We have a hot air balloon service and we went up in the morning. It was quite spectacular,” he said.
The small amount of rainfall is not expected to bring much relief in respect of the drought that has plagued the province and led to water restrictions in the past few months.

Umgeni Water spokesperson Shami Harichunder said the critically low Hazelmere dam had risen by one percent.

“It’s a positive step. It has increased by one percent instead of dropping and it is now at 27%,” he said.
“We will know the statistics of all the other dams once we measure the rainfall today [yesterday],” he added.

Harichunder said they are focusing more on Hazelmere dam because the situation there was critical.

“We need it to rain consistently for three days to get the Hazelmere dam to the required level. The snow that is on the mountains will obviously find its way into the river system and it would be fantastic if it could find its way to the Hazelmere catchment,” he said.

Colborne said they recorded between 10 and 20 millimetres of rainfall. “I don’t think the rain will make much of a difference in terms of drought, but rainfall is rainfall.”

She said there is a 30% chance of more rain this Friday, but warmer weather is on its way earlier this week.

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