Rare snowfall in Johannesburg

(Johannesburg) Snowfall surprised residents of Johannesburg and other parts of South Africa on Monday, a rare weather phenomenon in the country where authorities warned of possible road closures and a risk of a drop in temperatures.

Johannesburg residents woke up to snowfall lightly covering rooftops and gardens as the cold front that hit the country late last week turned into a weather system called a cold low or “ cut depression”.

At a kindergarten in Johannesburg, children had fun making snowballs and trying to catch snowflakes with their tongues, some for the first time in their lives.

“The last time we had this weather was in 2012,” Puseletso Mofokeng, of the South African Center for Meteorology (SAWS), told AFP.

Snowfall has been reported in the southern parts of Gauteng Province, where Johannesburg is located, and snow is expected to continue throughout the day, also affecting high altitude areas of the Eastern Cape and of KwaZulu-Natal, according to Mr Mofokeng.

“Roads could be closed,” he added.

Seeing snow in Johannesburg, located at an altitude of over 1700 m, is not unheard of but it is still quite rare. Before 2012, intense snowfall had hit the city in 1996, recalls the meteorologist.

SAWS has warned that freezing temperatures pose a risk to homelessness in a country where poverty remains high. Rough seas and strong winds are also expected to cause difficult conditions for small vessels off the east coast of South Africa.

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