Picture: Supplied
Durban – Snow, plummeting temperatures, sleeting rain and howling winds are expected to cause havoc across the province this weekend with emergency workers on high alert.

On Friday Eskom warned of possible power outages.The power giant has activated its emergency structures, said spokesperson Zethu Sonjica.

“The prevailing inclement weather, which has been described by SA Weather Service as a dramatic drop in temperatures for many provinces, has the potential to present challenges to Eskom’s infrastructure and possibly disrupt our operations."

The possibility of snowstorms, as well as predicted heavy rain, “could impact on the continuity of electricity supply to areas that may be affected by the severe weather, particularly in and around the highlands of KwaZulu-Natal, as well as Eskom’s ability to respond to possible high volumes of supply interruptions on our networks.”

On Friday night, KZN Weather Service forecaster Thandiwe Gumede confirmed that “disruptive snowfalls are a possibility on the high ground in the south-west region”.

Gale force winds of up to 75km/* are expected today with heavy sea swells and waves of up to 5.5m. There is an 80% chance of showers and thundershowers across the province, except for the north where 60% rain is forecast.

“Heavy rain could lead to localised flooding in the southern parts and interior of the province, while very cold conditions are expected in the western parts with temperatures below 10 degrees.”

The wet and cold weather is expected to continue tomorrow, with heavy rain forecast for the south-east and continued snow.

KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Nomusa Dube-Ncube said on Friday night that “disaster management teams are on alert and key routes monitored because we know how harsh a cold front can be.

“We want our communities to be safe and we urge all those intending to travel to drive carefully. We appeal to pedestrians to avoid crossing rivers because we have lost many lives in the past.”

As the cold front moved in on Friday, there were numerous accidents which affected the traffic flow, particularly in Durban during rush hour.

Marshall Security spokesperson Kyle van Reenen said 20 people were injured when two minibus taxis and two cars collided on the M4.

IPSS Rescue Services spokesperson Paul Herbst said the N2 southbound was closed temporarily on Friday afternoon after four vehicles collided just after the Zinkwazi turnoff.

On Friday morning, a bus carrying 73 children veered off the road on the R603 near Adams Mission. The children sustained minor injuries and were taken to hospital, according to Netcare 911’s Chris Botha.

Rescue Care’s Garrith Jamieson reported a number of collisions, including three vehicles colliding on Tara Road, Bluff, with seven injuries, as well as two people being injured in a head-on collision on Main Road in Queensburgh.

On Friday night, NSRI spokesperson Craig Lambinon urged bathers, surfers and boaters to use caution this weekend with big swells and poor weather coinciding with a full moon spring tide.

eThekwini Municipality earlier this week closed Country Club and Thekwini beaches due to heavy winds and high waves after consulting with the weather service and the KZN Sharks Board.

Mike Anderson Reade of the Sharks Board said other beaches including Uvongo, Lucien, Ski Boat Bay, Marina, Leisure Bay, Port Edward, Umtentweni, Banana Beach, Isipingo, Karridene, Warner Beach, Alkanstrand, Newark, Zinkwazi, Blythedale, Thompsons Bay, Willards Beach, Westbrook, uMdloti and Bronze Beach would be closed as sharks nets were removed. Some beaches such as Amanzimtoti Main beach would be open.

The Four Element Ocean challenge, an open water swim trial, will start on Saturday and continue on Sunday.

Organisers of two other sporting events have had to change their schedules because of the weather.

The Cell C Goodwave competition, a World Surf League Specialty Event with a prize of R100000, meant to be held on Monday or Tuesday depending on the swells, has been placed on hold because of possible “wild seas and stormy weather”.

High rainfall has also placed a damper on the second stage KAP sani2c cycle race, held on Saturday.

Organisers said no cyclists would race in the second stage, calling it a neutral stage, between Mackenzie (near Bulwer) and Jolivet (near Highflats) because of safety concerns.

Cyclists will, however, have to ride to Jolivet to remain in the race.