South Africans woke up to a vicious cold snap on Monday morning, with residents in Johannesburg and parts of Mpumalanga reporting snow and freezing temperatures below 0°C - but that has not stopped some from having fun with the snowflakes.
It was reportedly the coldest night this year. More cold weather including snow is expected this week, the South African Weather Service has confirmed.
However, some - like the thousands of schoolchildren who are currently on their June winter holidays - had some fun in the snow, playing soccer, and even going chest naked in the snow.
The SA Weather Service warned that a cold front would cause significant temperature drops over Mpumalanga on Monday but already over the southern parts of the Highveld today.
“Rainfall is expected to move in over the escarpment and Lowveld areas this evening spreading to the eastern Highveld on early Monday morning.
“Light snowfall and sleet are possible over the eastern Highveld regions and the escarpment (such as Belfast, Dullstroom, Roossenkal Pass, Mariepskop, Mount Anderson, Ermelo) of Mpumalanga on Monday where maximum temperatures are not expected to exceed 6°C,” it said, warning that the public and small stock farmers were advised that the very cold, wet and windy conditions may pose a risk to livestock, vulnerable crops and plants.
In the meanwhile, power utility Eskom announced Stage 4 load shedding just as thousands of South Africans were still stunned by the snow, which the weather service also admitted caught them off guard.
As millions around the country turn to heaters to keep warm, possibly straining the grid, Johannesburg City Power has given tips to residents about how to get the best out of their heaters.
– A fan heater with a thermostat is the most ideal choice to quickly heat an average room.
– It spreads heat evenly and the thermostat switches it off when the room is warm.
– Consider gas heaters as an alternative to electric heaters.
Joburg City Power, which has also been struggling with multiple outages in areas such as Randburg and Lenasia on this cold Monday, also provided some tips about how to keep the geyser working.
– Install your geyser closest to hot water points.
– Insulate a geyser with a geyser blanket.
– Insulate the first 1.5 meters of water pipes leading to and from the geyser.
– Do not let hot water run unnecessarily. Use basin plugs in bathrooms and kitchens at all times.
– Use cold water in your bathroom for quick tasks like washing your hands or brushing your teeth.
– Use cold water in the kitchen to rinse fruit and vegetables.
And earlier, questions arose about whether it was snow or sleet, but the SA Weather Service chirped in and confirmed it was definitely snow.
“What has been observed in parts of Gauteng including Soweto, Alberton, Roodepoort, Heidelberg and Vosloorus is indeed #snow .
“Light snowfall and sleet are still possible in parts of Mpumalanga today,” the SA Weather Service said on Twitter earlier on Monday.
Confirmed! What has been observed in parts of Gauteng including Soweto, Alberton, Roodepoort, Heidelberg and Vosloorus is indeed #snow ❄️. Light snowfall and sleet are still possible in parts of Mpumalanga today. More on https://t.co/6QWK1I3yJ3 #BeSafe #BeWeatherSMART https://t.co/brDwB8PNru— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) July 10, 2023
We issued warnings of disruptive snow ❄️ over parts of Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday. The warnings remain valid until midnight on 10 July 2023. A threat to life and hypothermia exists if care is not taken. More on https://t.co/6QWK1I3yJ3 #BeSafe #BeWeatherSMART pic.twitter.com/SLjqZiIc27— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) July 10, 2023
☃️☃️ SNOW IN PARTS OF ROODEPOORT ☃️☃️ pic.twitter.com/4KBAZx0yIS— Gauteng Weather (@tWeatherSA) July 10, 2023
Meanwhile, some South Africans have been having fun in the snow in all parts of the country.
Luzaan sent us this video of snowfall in Grootvlei Mpumalanga.— Storm Report SA (@StormReportSA1) July 10, 2023
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Although some enjoy this cold weather and snow, a phenomenon not common to most South Africans, it is not fun for everyone.