‘Pure magic’: snow falls on Johannesburg for first time in 11 years
Johannesburg, South Africa’s largest city, experienced its first snowfall in over a decade on Monday, with some children seeing snow for the first time.
South Africa regularly receives snow during the southern hemisphere winter months of June to August, but Johannesburg hasn’t had snow since August 2012.
Jennifer Banda told Reuters she was pregnant when it snowed last time in Nelson Mandela Square in the financial district.
Having snow 11 years later is exciting, she said.
The snow was described as “pure magic”, “hectic”, and a “wonderful start to the week” on social media.
The snow was caused by a surge in humidity, cold temperatures and a cold wind, according to Jennifer Fitchett, professor of physical geography at the University of Witwatersrand.
“It happens about once every 10 years. There isn’t much snowfall in our area, partly because of the dry conditions in winter. In winter, we have a strong, high pressure system, so we don’t get much rain. The air doesn’t have much moisture.”
Previously, it snowed in 2007 and 2012, she said.
The University of the Witwatersrand climatology professor Francois Engelbrecht told the Daily Maverick news website that heavier snow like the one seen on Monday falls once every 10 to 20 years in Johannesburg.
Climate change could not be blamed for the conditions, according to meteorologist Wayne Venter of the South African Weather Service.