Tuesday, September 23, 2008

S Africa Faces Coldest September in Recorded History

Parts of KwaZulu-Natal were transformed into a "winter wonderland" after snowfalls blanketed several areas of the province.

Temperatures plummeted into the low teens, with residents of Kokstad and Giants Castle waking up to 0C.

Durban experienced its coldest September night in recorded history on Friday night.

Snowfalls were reported in Kokstad, Matatiele, Underberg, Mooi River, Bulwer, Himeville and Nottingham Road.

Several roads in the province were closed and people were advised not to go snow hunting, as they risked becoming stuck in traffic and not being able to keep themselves warm.

The road between Harding and Kokstad was closed for most of yesterday, but has since been reopened.

Transport spokesperson Nonkululeko Mbatha said four accidents had been reported on the N3 freeway between Ashburton and Nottingham road as a result of the snow and several people had been seriously injured.

"All motorists on the N3 are urged to reduce their speed," she said.

The severe weather also disrupted power supplies in a number of areas including Underberg and Kokstad. Cellphone communication was also down.

The weather service said the cold spell was due to a high pressure system to the east of the country, and an upper air trough brought the cloudy and very cold conditions to parts of the Eastern Cape and KwaZulu-Natal.

The weather service predicted further rain for Sunday.

On Monday it will be sunny and cool to warm over most parts of the country. No rainfall is expected.

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