|GEORGE NEWS - A spell of freezing, wet weather hit the country at the beginning of the week and had Georgians too reaching for their warmest coats and scarves. |
On Tuesday, snow fell in all the provinces, the first time ever, according to news reports. The nearest snow to George fell in the Swartberg mountains where the pass between Oudtshoorn and Prince Albert had to be closed. Low water bridges in Meiringspoort were also under water.
Emergency centres in Eden were on stand-by from Monday. Wouter Jacobs, acting chief of Eden Disaster Management said they patrolled certain areas. Yesterday morning an Eden Disaster rescue team went out in search of two farm workers who had been swept away on a tractor on the Eensaamheid road between George and Uniondale.
They are employees of the farmer Hannes van Rensburg. "The incident was reported to the Herold Police at 18:20 on Tuesday evening. No contact could be made as yet with Mr Van Rensburg as there is no cell phone reception and winds blew over the Telkom tower. They were apparently swept away while passing through a drift," said Jacobs.
"A team of the NSRI might also be deployed to the area to aid in the search," he said.
Minimum temperatures in George hovered at between 5.2 to 6.6°C and maximum temperatures went down to 9.7°C (Monday).
The lowest temperature in the Eden area was recorded in Willowmore where residents had to fend off an icy 1.5°C. Oudtshoorn's lowest minimum was 4.1°C and in the Ladismith and Beaufort West areas the mercury fell to 2.6°C.
Although warmer weather is being forecast for the rest of the week, a new cold front is approaching that will bring some more chilly conditions with it from Saturday.
Wet, wet, wet
Koot Campher of the George Weather Office said that no snow was reported, but a total of 63mm of rain was measured from Monday up until yesterday morning.
George experienced a wet first half of the year in sharp contrast to 2010 when the area was in the grip of a relentless drought.
The total rainfall figure from January till end July is 423.8mm. The rain was spread out evenly between the months - January 43.8mm, February 46.7mm, March 73.4mm, April 46.2mm, May 12.8mm, June 71.6mm and July 129.3mm. June's figure was almost double the average of 44.6mm and July almost three times the average of 48.1mm.
Even the CBD of Johannesburg and OR Tambo Airport received snow, and heavy falls in Kwazulu-Natal, the Free State and large parts of the Eastern Cape resulted in the closure of several mountain passes and roads.
Heavy rains fell in the Western Cape where some rivers were in flood and several roads were closed, including the one between Montagu and Ashton.
An emergency worker in that area went missing after her ambulance was swept away in a river.
ARTICLE: ALIDA DE BEER, GEORGE HERALD JOURNALIST