Rare Snowfall Delights Johannesburg Residents

South Africa’s largest city experiences first snow in over a decade, creating a winter wonderland

      An aerial view of snow-covered streets during snowfall in Johannesburg, South Africa on July 10, 2023. SHIRAAZ MOHAMED/ANADOLU AGENCY VIA GETTY IMAGES.

JOHANNESBURG — As snow fell in Johannesburg, South Africa, for the first time in more than 10 years earlier this week, residents bundled up and rushed outside. Many people shared photos and videos online and couldn’t contain their excitement as the area was transformed into a winter wonderland.

“Snow is falling in Gauteng province, which includes Johannesburg, the country’s largest city,” said South Africa’s Weather on Monday.

“It is infrequent for it to snow in Johannesburg, but it does happen once every five to 10 years or so,”said AccuWeather Senior Meteorologist Jason Nicholls. “The last time it snowed in the city was 2012, and it also snowed back in 2007.”

According to Nicholls, the reason snow is “so infrequent” in South Africa during the winter months is due to the fact that winter typically coincides with the country’s dry season, which runs from June to August. The wet season there is during the warmer months of October through April, Nicholls noted.

Although most of the snow in Johannesburg Monday melted as it hit the ground, snow piled up just enough on non-paved surfaces to leave residents mesmerized. Just the flakes falling in the sky were enough to send people into a frenzy on social media.

In a Tiktok video of the snow, a rendition of the song “I’m So Excited,” performed by the Glee Cast, played in the background as flakes fell to the ground. In another video a woman jumped for joy as the snow fell around her. She could be heard saying, “This is so amazing,” as people ran around in the snow behind her.

“Snow is just something that doesn’t happen,” said one man to The Guardian. “It’s just amazing.”

Pictures and videos posted on Twitter showed children making snow angels, people partaking in snowball fights and some families making tiny snowmen. For some children, this was the first time they’d ever seen snow.

Gabriel Sussman gestures as snow falls in Zoo Lake Park in Johannesburg on July 10, 2023. WIKUS DE WET/AFP VIA GETTY IMAGES.

“Some of the pupils and I went out to explore,” said Primary School teacher Agnes Mideva to BBC. “Some of them had seen snow before, whereas others thought it was raining.”

Amid the excitement, the Johannesburg Roads Agency, warned residents that the snow could lead to hazardous travel and urged residents to be “extra careful” on the roads.

According to Nicholls, a strong cold front and lingering moisture in the atmosphere made conditions favorable for snow Monday. The high temperature in Johannesburg was 47 degrees Fahrenheit Monday, but overnight temperatures were below freezing, which allowed for the snow to fall. Nicholls added that additional snow is not likely this week.

“The weather looks dry the rest of this week and likely into early next week,” said Nicholls.

Produced in association with AccuWeather

Edited by Judy J. Rotich and Newsdesk Manager