Coldest August night on record

The night of 21 August 2003 was probably the coldest August night on record over South Africa. According to the climate temperature records of the South African Weather Service, new record low temperatures for August were recorded at various places throughout South Africa.

Table 1 shows the latest and the old record of coldest minimum temperature at various places over the country for 21 August 2003.

Station Name	Old Lowest Minimum 	Date recorded  New Lowest Minimum 
                   Temperature         (Old value)            Temperature

Cape St Lucia		7.9 C		1981/08/19 		7.0 C
Oudtshoorn		-1.0 C  	1984/08/26		-1.6 C
Bisho Airport 		2.3 C		1995/08/24 		1.5 C
Bloemfontein 		-9.7 C 		1972/08/02		-10.3 C
Kimberley		-6.7 C  	1977/08/07 		-8.5 C
Estcourt		-2.5 C		1975/08/03		-3.0 C
Bethlehem 		-9.2 C 		1985/08/04		-10.2 C
Welkom  		-5.2 C		1977/08/05		-6.3 C
Frankfort 		-10.0 C		1955/08/14		-10.4 C
Vryburg 		-8.2 C 		1955/08/08 		-8.9 C
Ottosdal		-6.0 C 		1977/08/05 		-8.4 C
Potchefstroom 		-7.6 C 		1972/08/02 		-7.7 C
Standerton 		-7.9 C		1974/08/02 		-9.5 C
Aliwal North 		-8,2 		1995/08/24		-9,5
Johannesburg 		-5.0 C	  	1972/08/02 		-7.0 C
Carolina		-4.0 C  	1967/08/18 		-6.1 C
Mafikeng		-4.2 C  	1972/08/02		-5.1 C
Irene Weather Office	-2.5 C 		1980/08/15 		-4.8 C
Warmbad		 	-5.5 C  	1976/08/13 		-5.6 C

The cold spell of last week started with an intense cold front which was accompanied by heavy rainfalls, which, on the afternoon of the 18th, moved in over the south western parts of the country. Widespread moderate to heavy snowfalls occurred over the high-laying areas of the Western Cape, spreading to the high ground in the Eastern Cape later. On the 20th, a strong high pressure system ridged in over the land, causing dry and very cold conditions to move over the country, which resulted in record low temperatures and black frost over most parts of South Africa. Black frost occurred over the south western parts of the country to as far as Pretoria.


South African Weather Service