Snow on Table Mountain

2010-06-15 08:48

Cape Town - There have been reports of snow falling in large parts of the chilly Western Cape.

The Swartberg Pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert was closed indefinitely after snow and rock falls. The Burgers Pass between Montagu and the N1 and the Verlatekloof Pass outside Sutherland were also closed.

Martin Wilkinson, an engineer at the Salt telescope outside Sutherland, said it had started snowing early on Monday morning. "It is -2.5°C and the wind is blowing at 70km/h. It is snowing horizontally," he said, describing the weather.

According to Rian Smit, weather forecaster at the SA Weather Service, it would still be very cold in the Western Cape with rain showers on Tuesday. Fortunately, sunny weather was expected from Wednesday.

At Calvinia, Sutherland, the Koue Bokkeveld and as far as the Eastern Cape countryside at Graaff-Reinet, Queenstown and Cradock, the coldest temperatures were far below freezing point. On Thursday, an icy -9°C was forecast for Sutherland.

Heavy rain

Soccer fans had to brave some heavy rain to get to Cape Town Stadium on Monday night. Making matters worse, FIFA had decided not to allow any umbrellas into the stadium as these could be used as weapons and obstruct the view of other spectators.

Kylie Hatton, spokesperson for the City of Cape Town, said rain shouldn't pose that much of a problem as the stadium seats were covered by the roof, and there was shelter from the rain at the fan parks.

Wilfred Solomon-Johannes, head of Cape Town disaster management, said a special plan had been in place since Sunday to help visitors to the stadium, fan fests and fan walks. Extra volunteers were helping to ensure people's safety.

Disaster management teams were helping with mop up operations at Morkel Cottages on the banks of the Soetwater River in Strand, Fisantekraal near Durbanville, Freedom Farm in Bishop Lavis and at Never Never in Philippi, where shacks had been flooded.

Power outages

There were also power outages early on Monday morning in Monte Vista, Goodwood, Plattekloof and Tygerdal.

A gale-force wind on Table Mountain caused the cable car to be stationary on Monday. It also appeared to have snowed on Table Mountain.

Collette van Aswegen, marketing manager of the cable car, said when the weather was good, the cable car would be operational for an hour or two later than usual in case more tourists wanted to take it.

The scenic Chapman's Peak road has been open for the whole of June without any incidents.