The Sunday News
Sunday News Reporter
A THUNDERSTORM affected some parts of Matabeleland South on Friday resulting in the fall of hail, triggering a social media frenzy as people thought it was snow that had resulted from falling winter temperatures.
However, the Meteorological Services Department (MSD) yesterday said what was said to be snow was in fact, thinning hail after the area experienced a rare thunderstorm. Director Public Weather Service in the MSD Mrs Linia Gopo said for snow to occur temperatures had to be below zero degrees Celsius among other factors and from the records collected from stations in the province, there were no temperatures recorded below that point.
“So there is a low pressure system in the middle levels of the atmosphere (upper/high levels) known as a cut-off low. It is typical of a summer season weather system. This system moved into the country from the west (Botswana) on Thursday evening and it moved slowly and thus affecting the western areas of the country mostly Matabeleland South areas and areas around Bulawayo Metropolitan Province on Friday evening.
“On the other hand, we also have a high-pressure system over the south east coast of South Africa stirring cool and moist south easterlies. These two systems resulted in the cloudiness experienced yesterday (Friday) and today (yesterday) in most parts of the country as well as the thunderstorms. So the cut-off low is the one responsible for the thunderstorms that produced hail in the pictures that have gone viral on social media.”
A video taken by a motorist at Mach Binding near Chipangali Wildlife Orphanage along Gwanda road showd hail covering about 50 metres on the side of the road. Mrs Gopo said although such storms were typical summer systems, they sometimes happen in winter.