Cold weather to stay until weekend
MPUME MADLALA and SHERLISSA PETERS
The weather in the province was expected to clear up today with only cloudy to partly cloudy conditions.
Durban weather forecaster, Stacy Colborne, said rain was expected along the north coast. She said no more snow was expected.
However SA Weather Services forecaster, Jan Vermeulen, said that KZN should brace itself for a few more chilly days, with the cold weather only lifting at the weekend.
Yesterday morning, hundreds of motorists travelling between Durban and Gauteng were affected by road closures at Van Reenen’s Pass, caused by heavy rains and snowfall. Graders were used to clear the roads between the Tugela Plaza and Van Reenen.
Spokeswoman for the Road Traffic Inspectorate, Zinhle Mngomezulu, said clearing the road had taken most of the morning, but that by 1pm yesterday, the roads were open. “Traffic is moving,” she said.
The expected maximum temperatures today were 20ºC and 15ºC in Durban and other parts of the province, but western areas at higher altitudes like Newcastle, Van Reenen’s Pass and Ladysmith were expected to be 10ºC by this afternoon.
Mngomezulu said emergency workers freed 10 trucks, and 15 cars that were stuck in the snow at Van Reenen’s Pass early yesterday morning.
Emergency services, police, military and car towing services helped to move all light motor vehicles.
N3 Toll Concession’s spokeswoman, Andy Visser, said more than 50 trucks headed towards Durban were stuck at the top of the pass and had to be escorted down.
Netcare911 paramedic spokes-man, Chris Botha, said that they had been inundated with calls to attend to accidents that had been caused by the poor weather.
“Drivers lost control of their vehicles on the slippery roads,” he said. In one such accident, 46 farm workers were injured when the vehicle they were travelling in overturned on the Kambridge Road just outside Rosetta in the morning.
“Paramedics assessed the workers and found that they had all suffered minor injuries and were treated for minor cuts and bruises. Local farmers started helping by bringing blankets to help keep them warm,” Banks said.
All the workers were taken to a hospital in Pietermaritzburg.