Iciest winter in decade - stats

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The stats are in, and June/July 2012 represents one of the coldest winters Cape Town has had in a decade. Only 2002 and 2003 trump this year’s average temperature of 12.4°C.

The weather made headlines earlier this week, with snow falling in all nine provinces for the first time in recorded history.

Roads were snowed under or washed away as torrential rains followed the cold snap.

Train services between Durban and Joburg were cancelled on Wednesday because of snow covering rail lines.

Parts of the N3, linking the two cities, were also closed for several hours.

Nor has the weather been without human cost: at least two people died and two are missing.

A paramedic whose ambulance was washed off a bridge near Montagu on Tuesday is still missing, Emergency Medical Services spokeswoman Keri Davids said on Thursday.

A homeless man in his fifties was found dead in a cardboard box near a nature reserve in Westville, KwaZulu-Natal.

In the Eastern Cape, a three-year-old girl was killed when the walls of her house crumbled after torrential rains, while a Kareedouw farmer went missing after floodwaters swept his bakkie off a low-lying bridge.

On Thursday, a break in the weather brought sunny skies and mild temperatures and came as a welcome relief for Capetonians celebrating Women’s Day.

However, the SA Weather Service issued a warning for gale-force winds, very cold conditions, continued snowfall and very rough seas into the weekend.

The new weather system will peak in Cape Town tomorrow, with a 99 percent chance of showers and north-westerly winds reaching 60km/h.

The northern hemisphere has been reporting extremities of its own.

July was the hottest month in the continental US on record, beating the hottest month in the devastating Dust Bowl summer of 1936, the US government reported on Wednesday.

It was also the warmest January to July period since modern record-keeping began in 1895, and the warmest 12-month period, eclipsing the last record set just a month ago, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration said.

“Is this climate change?” asked Peter Johnston, a professor with the Climate Systems Analysis Group at UCT’s department of environmental and geographic sciences

“You can’t judge a global tendency on a single season, but these high extremes [of hot and cold] worldwide are definitely a symptom of a more active atmosphere which is consistent with global warming.

“We can expect more frequent extreme events in the future as a result.” - Cape Argus

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