Another cold snap headed for South Africa

Forecaster Puseletso Mofokeng said South Africans should brace themselves from Friday for a cold front that would "invade the western areas of the Western Cape".

On Saturday, the chill would spread to the Eastern Cape and most of the Northern Cape, bringing with it "cold to very cold" conditions.

By Sunday, the southern Free State, Lesotho, and parts of KwaZulu-Natal would also feel the nip in the air.

Mofokeng said the cold front was not likely to bring snow or heavy rain with it and was not as strong as the previous one.

Chaos erupted around the country at the weekend as heavy snow and rainfall battered parts of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape and Free State.


Melting snow
The Road Traffic Management Corporation said most affected roads had been re-opened, including all mountain passes in the Eastern Cape.

Eastern Cape disaster management chief John Fobian said although the passes were open, motorists should be careful as they were still slippery because of melting snow. He said order had mostly been restored in the province.

"Everything is more or less normal. We are still attending to people in Port Elizabeth [who were displaced by flooding]. They are staying in halls and we are assisting them," he said.

The downpour in Port Elizabeth led to the evacuation of about 2 000 people. Kleinskool, Salt Lake, Missionvale, Nooitgedacht, Motherwell, Kuyga, and Wells Estate were the worst-affected areas.

Several tourists and residents stuck in the Baviaanskloof area were airlifted to freedom on Monday.

"The chopper worked from 9am to 3pm picking up people in the area. About 10 people were affected," Fobian said.

"These people included a woman who was nine-months pregnant and had a sick child in Kareedouw, as well a professor who did open heart surgery and needed to be in Johannesburg," Fobian said.

Warnings
In the Western Cape, all roads had been re-opened, except for two passes.

RTMC spokesperson Ashref Ismail said the Swartberg Pass, between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert in the Western Cape, would remain closed until further notice because of snow.

The Molteno Pass, which connects Beaufort West to Loxton in the Northern Cape, was also closed.

Traffic would be affected on the N2 at Sir Lowry's Pass, towards Grabouw, as debris, caused by a rockfall, had still not been cleared from the road.

"The rocks are still posing a challenge. Motorists are urged to exercise extreme caution."

The rockfall on Sunday damaged two cars. Twelve people, including six children, sustained scratches and bruises.

Motorists were warned to monitor weather patterns and media reports when planning a long trip. – Sapa

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Jenna Etheridge
Jenna Etheridge
Journalist, writer and editor
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