Some relief as SA to ease from cold to 'cool' this week

Gill Gifford Senior journalist
Taps in Rosendal remain frozen every morning as winter lows continue to be below zero this week.
Taps in Rosendal remain frozen every morning as winter lows continue to be below zero this week.
Image: Bonnie Meyer

As SA battles to recover from last week’s record low temperatures, the SA Weather Service says another cold front is set to move in over the Western Cape from tomorrow, bringing rain.

However, forecaster Lehlohonolo Thobela says the freezing conditions should start to ease a bit from Wednesday – though there is no sign yet of warm weather arriving.

He said last Thursday was the coldest day the country has experienced so far this year, with some areas seeing temperatures well below -10°C.

Fine conditions will prevail across the country from Friday.

“Gauteng will see a slight improvement in terms of temperature from about Wednesday, when we will move from cold to cool, although it will still be cold on the weekend,” he said.

“Cool” weather is defined as days on which the maximum temperature reaches between 18 and 24°C, with the minimum being between 6 and 10°C.

Debbie Agenbag, who manages several guest houses and is part of the tiny house movement in Rosendal in the Free State, which was one of the coldest places in the country last week, described dealing with the “big freeze”.

“Last Thursday all the pipes froze. We had running water only from 1pm, and that’s when we started hearing about all the damage.

Debbie Agenbag's dogs water bowl froze sold inside her house last week in Rosendal in the Free State.
Debbie Agenbag's dogs water bowl froze sold inside her house last week in Rosendal in the Free State.
Image: Debbie Agenbag
Frost in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, at the weekend, when minimum temperatures remained below zero after last week's freeze.
Frost in Ermelo, Mpumalanga, at the weekend, when minimum temperatures remained below zero after last week's freeze.
Image: Supplied

“A toilet in one of our guest houses actually broke in half because the water froze in the bowl. The water in my dog’s bowl froze solid, and that was inside my house. A lot of people experienced their gas geysers bursting,” Agenbag said.

But residents were used to sub-zero temperatures and generally kept tools and spares on hand to do their own plumbing repairs as soon as frozen pipes and geysers started to thaw, she said.

“It’s sort of cool to have these bragging rights to such extreme weather. When people move here, they know what they are in for and they build the fireplace before the house is up,” she said.

Another way people are preparing is through the tiny house movement, in which affordable small homes are built with alternative materials and extremely well-insulated walls. “There is just no way to warm up a cold brick wall,” Agenbag said.

Residents of Rosendal in the Free State experienced icy minus-degree temperatures last week.
Residents of Rosendal in the Free State experienced icy minus-degree temperatures last week.
Image: Sybrandus Adema

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