Snowfall in KZN as cold front hits

2017-08-18 13:45
There was light snow as low down as Nottingham Road on Wednesday.

There was light snow as low down as Nottingham Road on Wednesday. (Ian Carbutt)

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A thick layer of snow blanketed the Kamberg and Lower Lotheni areas on Thursday with Pietermaritzburg and surrounding areas experiencing freezing temperatures and light rain.

The cold weather follows a cold front that has affected most parts of the country, leaving parts of KwaZulu-Natal with snow-capped mountains and heavy snowfall in some areas on Thursday morning.

Snow covered the roadsides and mountains towards the Drakensberg and the Sani Pass area.

There were also reports of snow in Mooi River and Nottingham Road early on Thursday morning, however, the fine layer of snow had melted by mid-morning.

The SA Weather Service had predicted snowfall, gale force winds of up to 70 km/h and heavy rain for parts of KZN, however, the Eastern Cape is said to be bearing the brunt of the adverse weather conditions.

SA Weather Services forecaster Wayne Venter said a warning for disruptive snowfall over Northern and Southern Drakensberg area continued into today.

He said eastern parts of KZN and Pietermaritzburg would receive “good rainfall” in the evening (Thursday) and that the rain would continue on Freday. Pietermaritzburg could expect about 20 mm of rain.

Heavy rain had been predicted for the North Coast of KZN with a possibility of localised flooding, he said.

Venter added that gale force winds of up to 70 km/h had been predicted for today along the east and South Coast of KZN.

N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) spokesperson Con Roux said the roads appeared to be fine, traffic was flowing and no roads had been closed that he was aware of.

He warned snow chasers that looking for snow could be treacherous as the weather “could turn” and become dangerous for road users.

“We all love the snow but as South Africans I don’t think we fully comprehend how dangerous snow can be,” said Roux.

He said driving on snow- and sleet-covered roads can lead to accidents and there is always the potential of being trapped in the snow.

Being trapped in the snow meant people would need very warm clothes and food in case they were trapped for most of the day or overnight, he said.

The SA Weather Service issued a press statement yesterday saying the intense winter system is expected to move away from SA as early as today. “While Friday will still see some residual snowfalls over the eastern Drakensberg, eastern parts of the Eastern Cape and parts of Kwa­Zulu-Natal, the system is expected to begin weakening and drifting eastwards towards the Indian ocean.

“Rainfall, strong winds and rough seas will still persist along the Kwa­Zulu-Natal coastline during Friday, but are expected to ease off later in the day.”

KZN Transport Department MEC Mxolisi Kaunda also issued a statement on Thursday urging road users to exercise caution when driving on the provincial roads.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg

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