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Welcome to winter: Cold weather descends on SA

Blankets, scarves and steaming soup were the order of the day for South Africans caught unawares by chilly weather across the country on Thursday morning.

People took to social networking site Twitter to express their shock, including @AdventureDiveSA, who said: “Its got to be the #coldest Day in #south #Africa right now, there must be snow somewhere.”

His prediction was not far off as snowfalls in the Eastern Cape led to the closure of Barkly Pass, between Barkly East and Elliot.

Snow also fell through the night in Kokstad, between Mount Currie and the Ingeli Mountains in Kwazulu-Natal.

‘Absolutely loved the snow’
Dolla Bruce, manager of Willowdale Lodge in the area, said they had about 5cm of snow but it had dissipated by late morning.

“The guests here absolutely loved the snow … they were taking photos. A few residents wondered whether they would be able to get to work but the snow melted and all we have is sludge now,” she said.

Although snow may not have fallen elsewhere, South Africans made it known that they were “#freezing”, with the word being the third biggest Twitter trend in the country for the day. Other trends included “#chilly”, “#fridge”,”brrr” and “#heater”.

Masses of people in Johannesburg complained about the bitter cold while trying to think up good excuses not to go to work. A user in Durban said “he finally seemed to be grasping the concept of a #cold winter”. A visitor to Cape Town was confident enough not to pack warm clothes and found himself “shocked at how bloody cold it is”.

User @blklad24 was so inspired by the weather that he suggested “electrical shoes should be the next invention”.

For those living in informal settlements, however, electrical shoes would be the furthest thing from their mind.

Ekurhuleni emergency services spokesperson Zweli Dlamini said the winter season meant an increase in fires in informal areas. He said the emergency services had initiated a programme to train residents in the area on fire fighting and basic first aid.

They were also being taught how to be “fire-wise” while using paraffin devices to keep warm.

Although the country was set to get warmer with a cold front already out of the country, another one would likely hit on Saturday, said South Africa Weather Bureau forecaster Bransby Bulo.

“We have a cold front approaching from the south-west which will reach the Western Cape on Saturday.” — Sapa

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Jenna Etheridge
Jenna Etheridge
Journalist, writer and editor

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