South Africa Gets Heavy Fall Snow

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Five provinces in South Africa got an early taste of winter when a cold weather system moved in delivering below freezing temperatures and light to heavy snow across five provinces in early June, reports The South African, which wrote:

Cut-off lows and below-zero temperatures have turned snowy South Africa into a winter wonderland across five provinces. According to the South African Weather Services (SAWS), there will be continued disruptive snow in the Mohokare (Aliwal North) region in the Eastern Cape for the next 24 hours. The service warns of loss of livestock and crops. Likewise, roads and passes may have to be closed for short periods of time. Snow has already led to icy roads and railway lines, resulting in traffic disruptions.

SAWS issued an Orange-Level snow alert across a large swath of the country as snow was reported in the Northern Cape, Lesotho, the Western Cape and even as far north as Namibia.

Road conditions in some areas were so poor SAWS urged motorists “to exercise caution in the slippery conditions and to use suitable prepared 4x4s if venturing off road.”

Crisis 24 reported in detail on adverse weather warnings SAWS issued for June 3 and June 6 for the different provinces:

  • Orange Level 6 (out of 10) disruptive snow warnings:Parts of northern Eastern Cape Province.
  • Orange Level 6 (out of 10) disruptive rain warnings:Coastal Eastern Cape Province.
  • Yellow Level 2-4 (out of 10) disruptive snow warnings:Inland areas of the rest of the affected area.
  • Yellow Level 2-4 (out of 10) disruptive rain, severe thunderstorm, damaging winds, and damaging wave warnings:Coastal areas of the rest of the affected area.

“Heavy snow will likely make driving hazardous in some areas; authorities will probably implement temporary road closures or detours in such locations,” Crisis 24 said reporting on SAWS warnings. “Mountain passes and tunnels could be closed as a precautionary measure during periods of intense snowfall.

“The disruptive weather will likely cause some delays and cancellations at regional airports [and] [a]uthorities will probably temporarily suspend port operations if strong winds trigger hazardous sea conditions, impacting freight and passenger maritime traffic,” Crisis 24 continued. “Flooding/snow will likely block regional rail lines; freight and passenger train delays and cancellations are possible in areas with heavy rainfall and potential track blockages.”

Heavy snow had resulted in some road closures as early and Monday, June 3, according to South Africa’s TimesLive.

“It has been a winter wonderland for some and a morning of chaos for others as snowfall continued in parts of the country on Tuesday,” TimesLive said. “TimesLIVE Premium on Monday reported snowfall had hit parts of the Northern Cape for the first time in about 40 years as a powerful weather system sweeps across South Africa.

“The cold weather was preceded by deadly storms along much of the Cape coast, with people missing, according to rescue officials,” TimesLive continues.

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