SA cold snap 'unusual', says Wits weather expert

Experts say this year's winter is the warmest the world has experienced, making the cold front unusual.

Picture: Stephen Phillipson.

CAPE TOWN/JOHANNESBURG - Climate change experts at Wits University say this year's winter is the warmest the world has experienced, making the current cold front unusual.

The South African Weather Service has issued a number of warnings throughout the country, as widespread showers and thundershowers are expected to continue today.

Temperatures are also expected to remain low until Thursday.

Yesterday there was major flooding in and around Durban and heavy snowfall in the Free State and Eastern Cape.

Wits University's professor Mary Scholes says: "It's extremely mild and globally it's the warmest record ever for winter. This is a very unusual cold spell."

Gallery: Heavy snowfall in the Free State, parts of KZN & EC

At the same time, the Road Traffic Management Corporation (RTMC) has urged motorists to remain vigilant.

The RTMC's Simon Zwane has also advised motorists to leave their homes earlier today as wet weather normally affects the traffic.

"The traffic lights may not be working properly and the roads might be slippery. We know in this weather visibility becomes poor, so we urge them to drive slowly and to always be alert on the road."

In Cape Town, the disaster risk management teams have been placed on high alert.

A strong cold front is sweeping the Western Cape and the weather service has issued a flood warning.

City of Cape Town official Charlotte Powell says officials are prepared for any eventuality.

"Cape Town could experience heavy rains, gale force winds and cold conditions. We will remain on high alert and we're working closely with our NGO partners."