SA on snow go-slow

2011-07-26 09:50
Johannesburg - Widespread snowfalls interrupted morning routines on Tuesday, but South Africans did not mind - they took to the internet to share snow stories, while envious Johannesburg residents clung to the hope of possible sleet in the Vaal area.

Weather SA forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng said it was snowing heavily in the Lesotho area and overnight snowfall was reported in the Ukuhlamba Drakensberg area, the southern Free State, the Mpumalanga highveld and the Eastern Cape highground.

"We expect the snowfall will be ending tonight [Tuesday]," said Mofokeng.

The unusual weather caused the closure of a long stretch of the N3 highway, between Van Reenens Pass and Villiers.

Power cuts

Truckers and other motorists were lined up just before the N3 offramp. Most of the Free State town of Harrismith's petrol stations and stores were running on generators as the weather caused electricity cuts.

"Nobody must even think of venturing out on the roads," said resident Dries van Niekerk, owner of Dries Auto. "Today is a day to stay indoors and drink Gluhwein."

He said this was the worst snow storm he had seen in the town since 1992.

In Newcastle in northern KwaZulu-Natal, a Sapa reporter said the snow was 5cm thick. It was still snowing by 08:30, with residents choosing to stay indoors for now.

The college in the town was closed while a minibus taxi driver said commuters were stuck in the nearby Madadeni and Osizweni townships.

Botha's Pass was also closed and the road into Newcastle had been barricaded off by law enforcement officials.

Snow pictures

Newcastle residents were up early, with snow pictures being posted on social networking site Facebook from 05:00.

Twitter users posted links to pictures of snow in Beaufort West and Victoria West in the Eastern Cape, and Volksrust in Mpumalanga.

News24 users sent in photos of children playing in heavy snow in Barkly East and Comfimvaba in the Eastern Cape, cars buried under thick layers of snow in Queenstown, and two adults posing proudly next to a snowman, not bothered by the cold.

Several Twitter users quoted the "weather service" as saying there could be "snow in Jozi" today.

Said Mofokeng: "It is more a possibility of sleet [frozen water] in the areas of Sasolburg and Heidelberg."

He added that it would start getting warmer toward the end of the week, although maximum temperatures would still be low.

- Send us your snow photos
- SAPA
Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  bloemfontein  |  east london  |  johannesburg  |  weather
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