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Thursday, August 03, 2006

Snow falls in South Africa as the US swelters in heatwave

Times Online August 03, 2006

Residents play in the snow in Clarens, South Africa (Gabby Nel/AP)

Snow falls in South Africa as the US swelters in heatwave

By Elsa McLaren and agencies

Heavy snow has fallen on Johannesburg for the first time in 25 years as South Africa faces some of its harshest weather conditions for decades.
Across the world extreme weather is affecting millions of people, with the east coast of America baking in a heatwave and tens of thousands of Chinese having to flee their homes as Typhoon Prapiroon approaches.
At least four South Africans have been reported dead, police said yesterday. Snow, rain and rockfalls have closed mountain roads across the country.
Torrential rains caused flooding in the eastern and southern Cape. The bodies of two men and two children were recovered yesterday after their car was swept from a bridge into a rain-swollen river in the coastal town of George. Rescuers were looking for a fifth person also believed to have been in the car.
Snow, freezing temperatures and gale force winds were expected to persist in parts of the country today, according to the weather service, which had posted cold-weather warnings on its website
Kevin Rae, assistant manager of forecasting at the South African Weather Service in Pretoria, said: ?It [the snow] is by no means freakish but I would certainly classify it as rare."
Johannesburg last had snow on September 11, 1981. Widespread snow across the country had been recorded only twice in the past 20 years, in 1981 and 1988.
In the United States the National Weather Service was again posting heat warnings from Massachusetts to South Carolina and Oklahoma.
Since Sunday, local authorities have confirmed that there have been at least 12 heat-related deaths and a further seven more are suspected. The same heat wave has been blamed for about 164 deaths last week in California.
In Boston, a pregnant woman died on Saturday after collapsing at a Red Sox game, and yesterday, an 18-month-old boy was found dead inside a van in Kentucky.
In Illinois, at least six heat-related deaths have been confirmed in Cook County since Sunday, and police believe that another six deaths in Chicago yesterday could be heat-related.
To add to the sweltering temperatures, power blackouts have affected thousands of customers along the east coast due to high demand.
Today in Pakistan flash flooding and mudslides triggered by heavy rains have killed 19 people and injured 10.
Police said that another five people are believed missing.
(story continues at link)
Michelle Dulin
End of the World Ministry

Be Joyful always, give Thanks in all circumstances

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