Brrrr! It's about to get flipping cold y'all
In the wake of the snow, 'ridiculously' cold conditions set to chill the country to the bone
The rain and the snow might be abating from Tuesday morning, but in its wake will be “ridiculously” cold conditions set to chill the country to the bone.
This is according to Rob Ansell, founder of Snow Report SA, who has been on the receiving end of dozens upon dozens of pictures of inclement weather as he views forecasts for the upcoming days.
“There will be the most incredible chill across the country,” he told Times Select. “It’s going to be ridiculously cold.”
But just how cold is that? According to the South African Weather Service (SAWS), temperatures were expected to drop well below zero on Monday night.Vereeniging and Mahikeng has expected lows of -2 from Monday into Tuesday, according to the SAWS, but that’s not the worst of it. Upington had a predicted low of -3. Vryburg and Bloemfontein were expected to have minimum temperatures of -7.
“We’ve had a bit of a mild spell in the last few years,” said Ansell of the weather conditions over recent winter seasons.
“But right from the beginning of this year, the Weather Service has predicted a cold winter. And they were certainly right,” he added, with a chuckle.
Cattle farmer Anton Olivier, 56, said they had two to three centimetres of snow on Monday on his farm Nadousberg, between Aliwal North and Cradock in the Eastern Cape.He said they could see the effect of global warming in the snow on the farm. He was born and bred on the farm and has seen snow as high as 1.4m around their farmhouse, which is about 1,700m above sea level.
“We’re getting less and less snow. Where we used to get three to four decent snowfalls per season, we probably get of about 30cm a season now. The snow is very important for us, because it falls and melts into the ground. It’s like a drizzle … it feeds our fountains and rivers,” said Olivier.
The family keeps sheep on the farm, and had to head out between 2am and 3am on Monday on horseback to reach sheep that were snowed in as the snow fell at its hardest.“You can’t walk on the soft snow and the animals can’t either. They’ll die of exhaustion eventually.”
Olivier said cattle had a good sense of when cold weather is coming and often headed down the mountain the day before.
“The only thing about cattle is they use a lot of energy when they get cold, so they lose their body mass. A nice fat cow can be reasonably thin within a week after a cold front.”Peet Bothma from Fouriesburg in the Free State said his house was built in 1898 and residents have survived all these years thanks to indoor fireplaces.
“The houses here are old, with sandstone walls, and all of them have indoor fireplaces. A fireplace here is not something that just looks beautiful, it is something that is essential and keeps you warm.”
Bothma said there was no snow as of yet, but he expected the barometer to drop to -9 on Monday night. The roads are often covered with ice early in the mornings and snow is often ploughed to keep one lane open if the roads are not closed.“It happens annually that the roads are closed due to snow, then the guys cannot reach the mines in Lesotho and they do not get their work done.”
Bothma added that residents changed their lifestyle when temperatures drop by remaining indoors, dressing up in thick coats and eating hot food, such as soup.
The SAWS warned that the frigid temperatures would leave the homeless, people living in informal settlements and livestock at the greatest risk.