Cape Town - At the rate at which the weather has changed and snow is falling in eastern parts of the country, we may just get a white Christmas this year!
The Twitterverse has exploded with numerous snow images and videos taken across SA's eastern high ground, making it difficult to believe that summer is meant to be around the corner.
Snow Report SA says that snow has been spotted in Barkly East, Elliot, Swartberg KZN, Sani Pass, Sani Top, Lesotho, Matatiele, Clarens Free State, St Bernards Peak, Underberg, Himeville and Fouriesburg.
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SA Weather Service (SAWS) advises that disruptive snowfalls are expected over the north-eastern high ground of the Eastern Cape and southern Drakensberg of KZN.
According to Snow Report SA snow is expected in parts of the Western Cape and Eastern Cape, with "heavy falls in Lesotho and the Eastern Cape Drakensberg, medium/ light falls on the KZN Drakensberg" and "some flurries in the KZN Midlands."
Snow is expected to continue until Thursday evening.
Check out the snowfall:
Afriski Mountain Resort in Lesotho advises drivers of roads and lanes that are closed due to the snowfall from Wednesday night.
"It is incredible to have unseasonal snowfall at Afriski in November with 10-15 cm that fell overnight. We welcome everyone to come and see the summer snow but please contact us about road conditions as the pass is icy," says Nicola Gerrard, Afriski Mountain Resort, Lesotho.
Roads are currently closed to 2x4 drive vehicles, open to 4x4 class vehicles, and Moteng Pass is currently closed due to a truck broken down, but 4x4s with medium to high clearance can get past.
"At Afriski, sitting at 3222m - snow is about 10-15 cm in places, with icy patches under snow. We caution drivers to proceed carefully."
Heavy snowfall has also been reported at Semonkong Lodge, Lesotho.
"Beautiful snowfall over night and currently snowing right now (Thursday, 16 Novemer) with nearly 20cm on the ground. Certainly a surprise for our summer guests but an exciting experience to have in November." Armelle Halse, Semonkong Lodge, Lesotho.
Caution while driving in icy conditions
Drivers must practice vigilance on the roads, AutoTrader CEO, George Mienie warns.
Mienie says travelling in snowy conditions can be tricky and adhering to a few safety tips will avoid tragedies. The first step is to remember that very cold weather can make car batteries less efficient, yet that is exactly the time drivers are demanding the most from them – turn off lights, windscreen wipers and the heating system when these are not necessary.
Ice and snow reduce tyre traction, thus affecting braking, accelerating and cornering. In snowy conditions, drive slowly and gently to avoid sliding or locking the wheels, and if you get stuck in muddy roads, Mienie says the key is not spinning the wheels to prevent further digging into the rut. Rather spread salt or gravel in front of the wheels.
ALSO SEE: PICS: Cold snap brings SA snow in November
“Visibility is also key, so ensure your car lights are working before travelling as seeing and being seen are critical in inclement weather” he advises.
Finally, “false confidence is the worst kind, because simply having a four-wheel drive motor vehicle does not make you an arctic rally driver” Mienie advises. “Consider whether the journey is necessary and rather stay home if you can”.
Cold snap and alerts
The cold snap has hit full force with temperatures dropping as low as -2°C in parts of SA. SAWS advises all to brace for extreme weather conditions and says that livestock farmers in Eastern Cape and KZN must take precautions as low temperatures are expected, especially over the high-lying areas.
In addition to snowfall, some places of SA can expect heavy rainfall and gale force winds on Thursday as rainfall moves eastwards. See the full weather report here.
SAWS says that heavy rainfall leading to localised flooding is expected over the north-eastern parts of the Eastern Cape, and southern parts of KZN.
Gale force southerly to south-westerly winds of 65km/h are expected between Port St Johns and Kosi Bay.
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