Johannesburg gets snowfall for first time in decade

On Monday, residents of South Africa’s largest city, Johannesburg, were taken aback when the town received its first snowfall in over a decade. For some children, this was their first experience with the white stuff.

In spite of the fact that snowfall is common in certain regions of South Africa during the winter months of June through August in the southern hemisphere, the city of Johannesburg has not seen snow since August 2012.

Jennifer Banda revealed to the news agency Reuters that she was expecting a child at the time that it snowed the most recent time after having her photo shot on Nelson Mandela Square in the heart of the financial district.

“Eleven years later, it’s exciting that we have snow,” she remarked. “Eleven years down the line, it’s exciting that we have snow.”

On social media, Johannesburg residents described the snow as “pure magic”, “hectic”, and a “wonderful start to the week”.

Jennifer Fitchett, a professor of physical geography at the University of Witwatersrand, was quoted in the newspaper as saying that the snow would probably melt soon and that it had been brought on by an increase in humidity, low temperatures, and a chilly wind.

“It occurs around once every 10 years on average. Because of the dry climate during the winter, our region does not receive a significant amount of snowfall. This is one of the reasons why. We’ve got a strong, high-pressure cell which is why we don’t have any or very little rain in winter months. And as a result, there is not a lot of moisture in the air.”

According to her, the last time it snowed was in 2012, and before that, it was in 2007.

According to a climatology professor at the University of the Witwatersrand named Francois Engelbrecht, snow falls in Johannesburg on average once every five years, and heavy snow of the kind that was seen on Monday occurs once every 10 to 20 years. This information was provided to the Daily Maverick news website.

South African Weather Service meteorologist Wayne Venter told the Daily Maverick the conditions were not exceptional and could not be said to be due to climate change.

A photographer was able to capture images of children in Brackenhurst, which is located south of the city, throwing snow angels and snowballs on the grounds of a school.

On the other hand, the snow made life challenging for some people, such as the delivery driver Chenjerai Murape, whose motorcycle would not start.

“I’m attempting to get the engine to a temperature where it can start… “If you don’t stop, I’ll kick the bike all day,” he threatened.

The South African Weather Service has issued warnings due to the cold front that has hit the province of Gauteng, which comprises both the capital city of Pretoria as well as the city of Johannesburg.

Snow fell on Monday in the coal heartland of Mpumalanga province, which is where many of the power stations that are owned and operated by the struggling utility Eskom are located.

 

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