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Is it sleet, is it snow? Meteorologist explains the blizzard that’s got Joburg sneezing

Snowfall has been experienced in different parts of Gauteng. Picture: Screengrab/City of Joburg

Snowfall has been experienced in different parts of Gauteng. Picture: Screengrab/City of Joburg

Published Jul 10, 2023


The South African Weather Service (Saws) said some parts of Gauteng experienced snow, as the country experienced very cold weather on Monday morning.

Speaking to broadcaster Newzroom Afrika, Saws meteorologist Lehlohonolo Thobela said snow was experienced in Gauteng.

“Sleet is just a reference of snow that is very, very light. It is true that we have experienced some of it, but some of the places especially around the East Rand, and that includes Heidelberg, they experienced snow where it was actually quite greater size which resulted in snow,” he said.

“Sleet is just a word that will just explain that it is very light snow falling over some areas, especially over the southern parts, spreading over to some areas of Sandton in Gauteng.”

He said the cloud causing the snowfall over Gauteng is dying out a bit, which means the conditions will not last longer.

“The cloud is dying out a bit, but it started over the southern parts, covering areas of Soweto. It moved further east upwards into Gauteng … now we know some areas around Johannesburg central, some parts over Rosebank, going over to Sandton are experiencing this as the cloud is moving further,” Thobela said.

“Cold conditions are yet still expected to continue over into the week until days like Wednesday, that is when we will start to pick up temperatures,” he said.

“However, for today we still have to experience much more of the cold weather and some snow that is still expected over the escarpments of Mpumalanga, spreading over to most areas of the highveld over Mpumalanga.”

Snowfall has been experienced in different parts of Gauteng. Picture: Screengrab/City of Joburg

In a statement, Saws said the cold front caused a significant drop in temperatures over Gauteng on Monday.

“The maximum temperatures are expected to reach 13°C in the northern areas of Gauteng, with minimum temperatures recorded to have met criteria for snowy conditions,” he said.

“Snow was observed over areas in the south, such as Soweto, Alberton and Roodepoort. Some of the areas that observed snow include the eastern areas of Gauteng, Heidelberg and parts of Vosloorus,” said Thobela.

“Most of the snow that was observed since morning was over Heidelberg. Light snowfall and sleet are still possible over the Highveld and the escarpment of Mpumalanga today, where expected temperatures for areas such as Dullstroom, Belfast, Roossenekal, Mariepskop, Mount Anderson and Ermelo will not exceed 6°C.”

Regarding the impact of the harsh weather, Saws said the public and small stock farmers are advised that the very cold, wet and windy conditions may pose a risk to livestock, vulnerable crops and plants.

“Severe frost is expected overnight as well as on Wednesday morning. The public is also warned to keep warm during these cold conditions,” he said.

“The public are urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television, radio as well as social media platforms. Updated information in this regard will regularly be available at as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account.”