Snow closes Van Reenen's Pass

2012-08-07 12:01
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Johannesburg - The N3 was closed on Van Reenen's Pass from Harrismith to the Tugela toll plaza on Tuesday due to snowfalls, the N3 Toll Concession Limited said.

"A few people are stuck on the pass, and authorities are working to get them to safety," spokesperson Andy Visser said.

No accidents were reported on the pass by mid-morning, and Visser attributed this to the speedy response to the extreme weather by the Ladysmith Road Traffic Inspectorate.

Snow

While snow had fallen all the way from Harrismith to Hilton, outside Pietermaritzburg along the N3, it was only thick enough on Van Reenen's Pass to warrant road closure.

The N11, via Villiers and Ladysmith, was the only viable alternative route as the R74 was also closed as a precaution.

Visser said people were advised not to travel "unless absolutely necessary".

Parts of the Eastern Cape were also covered in snow.

Lynne Minnaar, owner of the Groenvlei Farm Guest House in Graaff-Reinet, said her lawn was dusted with snow on Tuesday morning. She said she had received more bookings than usual as a result of the snow, and was hoping it would last until the weekend for the benefit of her guests.

Charlotte Meyer, owner of 26 on Chamberlain guest house in Queenstown, said snow had fallen there on Monday, and was still visible on the nearby Madeira Mountain.

She said snow had also fallen in the area last year, but prior to this there had been no snow for 41 years.

Earlier, residents of Vanderbijlpark, in southern Gauteng, woke to discover a sprinkling of snow.

It generally snowed in the area once every five or six years, said Pomegranate Bed and Breakfast owner Laetitia van den Heever, who described the scene as "just lovely".

"[The snow] has settled lightly on the plants. It's beautiful, it looks like Christmas."

Van den Heever said by 08:00 it was "snowing again in earnest".

Forecast

SA Weather Service forecaster Jan Vermeulen said there were heavy clouds over Vereeniging on Tuesday morning, and a chance of light snow had been predicted over southern Gauteng.

There had also been reports of snowfalls in Bethlehem and Clarens in the Free State.

Parts of the Western also Cape experienced snowfall, and heavy falls were expected along the south-eastern coast.

Vermeulen said there would be a brief reprieve from the freezing conditions from Wednesday, but on Friday another cold front would hit the country from the south west, bringing a fresh wave of icy weather.

- Are you experiencing snow and cold? Send us your pictures.

- SAPA

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  bloemfontein  |  east london  |  weather
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