Winter strikes with a vengeance

2010-06-15 22:45
Cape Town - Winter has struck with a vengeance in the Western Cape with some towns recording their first snow falls in almost 20 years.

Several mountain passes in the Southern Cape and the Eastern Cape had to be closed after heavy snowfalls. 

Tourists expecting sunny skies in Cape Town were greeted by snow on Table Mountain, where the temperature never rose above 1°C. 

It was the heaviest snowfall on the mountain since 2003.

"If I hear 'south' I think 'warm'," said Michail Podlatsjof from Russia. "All I brought with me are shorts and T-shirts."
Mountains elsewhere in the Western Cape and high lying areas were covered in snow.

A forecaster at the SA Weather Service, Lynette van Schalkwyk, said in Cape Town it would remain cold in the Western Cape on Wednesday, but no more snow was expected.  She said berg winds were expected to set in on Thursday. 

The higher temperatures made it impossible to forecast if there will still be snow at the weekend for sightseers.    

Very cold

In Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga and North West people might also wake up to "snow" on Wednesday.

But forget about building a snowman. It's not snow but the so-called black frost causing the blanket of white. 

Temperatures will begin improving slightly on Thursday.

In KwaZulu-Natal, people were reminded on Tuesday that winter had well and truly settled in. Light to medium snowfalls were experienced in some regions with very cold temperatures around the province.

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

Freezing temperatures and snow were experienced at Sani Top Chalet on Tuesday said manager Roger Aldous.

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

Wave heights

A forecaster from the KZN Weather Bureau said that they were not issuing any warnings of very cold weather.

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

The KZN Weather Bureau also predicted very rough seas along the KZN coast line, “with wave heights in excess of 4.5m in the morning”.

Zinhle Mngomezulu, spokesperson for the Road Traffic Inspectorate said that no roads were closed in the province due to snow on Tuesday, but warned that this might change on Wednesday.

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