Visitors from warmer parts of the country, in particular, struggled to hide their discomfort
BOOTS, balls, bare feet, blankets and bitterly cold weather were the order of the day as the SA Rugby Union’s Youth Weeks kicked off in freezing conditions at Diamantveld High School and Kimberley Boys’ High yesterday morning.
While the organisers of the Under-16 Grant Khomo Week and the Under-13 Craven Week festivals were satisfied with the first day of the events, with plenty of thrilling rugby on offer, fans, friends and family were forced to endure less than ideal conditions as sunny spots, sheltered from an icy south-westerly wind, were sought after real estate.
As spectators did what they could to keep warm, with many bringing out their winter woolies for the first time this season, there was little chance of escaping the cold for the older boys, in their PT shorts and rugby jerseys, but even less for the primary school players, who were forced to endure the sub-zero temperatures and a rock-hard playing surface without shoes on their feet.
With a minimum temperature of -4 degrees Celsius, yesterday was the coldest morning to date in the city in 2018 and by midday the mercury had still not climbed into double figures.
When called upon to introduce Premier Sylvia Lucas, during yesterday’s opening ceremony, the MEC for Education, Martha Bartlett, reluctantly put down her blanket and took to the podium.
“If I am this cold, how must the kids be feeling?” she asked before calling on Lucas to follow suit.
“I thought it got cold in Gauteng but this is ridiculous,” commented the father of one of the young Lions players.
“So much for global warming.”
Visitors from warmer parts of the country, in particular, struggled to hide their discomfort.
“I grew up in the Cape, which was bad enough,” quipped Shane du Randt. “I hate the cold and that’s why I jumped at the chance to move to the Lowveld.
“How do you live in this weather? I really should have packed better.”
While there will be no shortage of sunshine, Kimberley residents, along with thousands of visitors, can expect similar conditions over the next few days as a cold front passes over the country, bringing more bitterly cold weather to central South Africa.
Accuweather has predicted clear, sunny but very cold conditions until the weekend, with a minimum of -3 degrees C expected for today and tomorrow.
A high of only 12 degrees C is predicted for this afternoon and despite an icy start expected for tomorrow morning, a maximum in the high teens has been forecast for later in the day.
However, warmer weather is likely to return to the city for the final round of fixtures, with a low of zero and a high of 18 expected on Thursday.
Meanwhile, from the Swartberg mountains to the Theewaterskloof Valley, white-capped mountains have been spotted following heavy rains, signalling the first snowfall this winter season.
Snow has been reported in various areas, including Hermanus, Worcester, Franschhoek and in the Theewaterskloof Valley.
According to the SA Weather Service, disruptive snowfalls were also expected in the West Coast District, the Cape Winelands, and in southern Namaqua in the Northern Cape.