Bitter winter hits South Africa

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Copy of ca p9 Winter Wonderland done Independent Newspapers Gabby Assante, 8, left, and Paige Irving, 7, enjoy the ice slides at the Cape Gate Shopping Centre during the school holidays. Picture: Henk Kruger/Cape Argus.

Johannesburg -

BRRRR! - the cold weather is coming.

The SA Weather Bureau (SAWB) has indicated that the entire country will be gripped by a cold front this week. And, starting on Monday, the cold spell reaches Gauteng.

Gautengers have been warned to brace themselves for early morning temperatures of minus 6ºC in some places for the next two days.

The SAWB has forecast temperatures of minus 6ºC for Vereeniging, rising to 11; minus 2ºC in Joburg, rising to 14; and 0ºC in Pretoria, rising to 17 on Wednesday.

Temperatures could, in fact, be lower, said forecaster Dipuo Tawana.

Copy of ca p9 chilly cape town done Sunrise over a cold Cape Town seen from De Waal Drive. Early-morning temperatures plunged to about 6oC on Monday. Pictures: Henk Kruger Independent Newspapers

“We expected a minus 4ºC over Vereeniging, but, in fact, temperatures dropped to minus 6.3ºC.”

The good news is that the cold is not expected to last long. From Thursday, temperatures will start rising slowly.

“The cold front has already exited the country. We are experiencing a high-pressure system over the country, which is bringing in the cold in some parts.

“Cold temperatures are expected in Mpumalanga… and Limpopo, and will improve slightly on Thursday.”

On Wednesday, residents can expect minimum temperatures of 1ºC and a maximum of 18°C.

Tawana said minimum temperatures would increase to 2ºC on Thursday, with a maximum of 17ºC.

“On Friday, the weather will be sunny with a possible minimum of 2ºC and maximum of 18ºC,” she said.

No rain is expected this week.

The good news is that no rain is expected in the Western Cape until Friday - but the bad is that minimum temperatures in the city will be pretty minimal.

Monday morning’s low was a chilly 6ºC, and Wednesday should be 7ºC, but the afternoons will get warmer, with 14ºC on Tuesday, 16ºC on Wednesday, and an almost tropical 19ºC on Thursday.

Monday’s minimum also dropped to 6ºC, and in some areas there was a hoar frost, with ice crystals forming on car windscreens and grass blades. This type of frost forms on cold, clear nights when heat is lost into the open sky, causing objects to become colder than the surrounding air.

Forecaster Stella Nake, from the Cape Town Weather Office, said rain was expected on Friday afternoon into early Saturday. There might even be snow.

In KwaZulu-Natal snow “hunters” were left disappointed on Monday after an early morning snowfall proved to be only a short flurry and a false alarm.

Rob Ansell of the website said there were “unfortunately” only quick, light flurries in the province yesterday as temperatures plummeted.

He said, however, that his team expected more snow in the Midlands in areas like Fort Nottingham, Impendle, Mooi River, Rosetta and in the mountains “on Sani Pass and into Lesotho regions such as Mokhotlong”.

Nottingham Road was abuzz with an influx of visitors hoping to catch a glimpse of the snow yesterday. But most were left disappointed.

Ansell said members of his team were in the Midlands on Hastings farm between Dargle and Impendle from Sunday evening, waiting for the snow to arrive.

“We woke up to a light dusting. It was truly a beautiful sight. The falls were very light, and did not settle for long at all,” he said.

Gordon and Elenore Wilson travelled all the way from Hermanus in the Western Cape in the hope of watching snow fall.

Gordon said they were not disappointed: “You can’t be disappointed with nature and the weather. I’ve seen snow before, but I’ve never seen it fall.”

A manager at Nottingham Road Hotel said he had been inundated with about 70 calls by noon on Monday of people from as far as Durban enquiring if it there was any snow.

Nonjabulo Madlala said: “We are used to this type of weather, but not at this time of year. It’s usually August,” she said.

She said the hotel was fully booked.

The Star, The Mercury and Cape Argus

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