Johannesburg, South Africa, experienced a rare snowfall on Monday, its first in over a decade. While some parts of South Africa receive snow during winter, Johannesburg last saw snow in 2012.
For the first time in 11 years, it snowed in Johannesburg, South Africa. The cold air and moisture from the east defied the usually dry winter season, making this event exceptional.
Snowfall is a rarity in Johannesburg, occurring once every five years on average. Heavier snowfalls like this one are even scarcer, happening once every 10 to 20 years.
The contrast is remarkable, considering that just a week ago, the continent experienced its hottest overnight temperature ever recorded at 39.6°C (103.3°F).
A surge in humidity, cold temperatures, and a cold wind caused the recent snowfall. Snowfall in Johannesburg is infrequent due to dry winter conditions and a lack of moisture in the air. The snowfall is expected to be short-lived.
— Mark Hadlow (@mark_hadlow) July 10, 2023
On average, snowfall events in Johannesburg occur once every ten years, with heavier snow occurring every 10 to 20 years. The South African Weather Service issued warnings due to the cold front affecting Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg. Snow also fell in Mpumalanga province.
The snowfall excited residents, especially children who saw snow for the first time. However, it also posed challenges for some, such as a delivery driver whose motorbike wouldn’t start. The cold temperatures prompted warnings about road safety and livestock protection. Despite the rare snowfall, experts said it could not be attributed to climate change.