WATCH | Blanket of snow covers KZN highway

Montrose in Pietermaritzburg experienced heavy snowfall on Monday.
Montrose in Pietermaritzburg experienced heavy snowfall on Monday.
Image: Supplied

A thick blanket of snow covered the N3 near Montrose, Pietermaritzburg, on Monday. 

There's been heavy snowfall in the Drakensberg, the Eastern Cape and Free State. 

Visibility has been poor on major routes in the affected areas.

On Monday morning the N3 Toll Concession (N3TC) said snow had fallen on its route, but it subsided by noon.    

“N3TC’s Route Services have completed the brine application along Van Reenen's Pass to prevent the formation of ice and slippery road surfaces. Road users should, however, continue to be prepared for cold weather. Make provision for warm clothes and blankets, water, food and basic medical supplies in your vehicle should unexpected delays or emergencies occur,” said N3TC operations manager Thania Dhoogra.

All partners of the road incident management system (RIMS) on the N3 Toll Route remain on high alert.

“Drivers can support them by driving defensively. Slow down, keep headlights switched on and increase your following distances. Stay patient and alert, and please be courteous to fellow road users, especially under these demanding travel conditions,” said Thania Dhoogra.  

The South African Weather Service (Saws) said the cause of the inclement weather was a combination of two distinct weather systems.   

“Firstly, a strong surface high-pressure system, ridging well south of the country, will introduce cold, moisture-laden air over the south-eastern and eastern coast and interior. Secondly, the development of a cut-off low over the central interior of the country, will promote pronounced instability and uplift, thus promoting rainfall over the eastern provinces,” said Saws’ Kevin Rae.  

“A further factor which will enhance the likelihood and amount of rain will be the tropical nature of the air mass. Tropically sourced air is well known to be associated with rainfall of a potentially heavy, widespread nature.”  

Last week Rae predicted a significant lowering of the altitude at which sub-zero temperatures occur, commonly referred to as the “freezing level”, will most likely result in disruptive snowfall over the Drakensberg mountains and Van Reenen's Pass from Sunday.   

“Lighter snowfalls can be expected over higher peaks of adjoining provinces such as the Eastern Cape and extreme eastern Free State. There is even a small but distinct possibility of light snowfalls over the Roossenekal pass, as well as the Belfast and Dullstroom areas of the Mpumalanga escarpment, early next week.” 



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