First Zimbabwe ‘snowfall’ in history

Reached a depth of 30 cm (12 inches)

The “Zimbabwe Snowfall” of last Friday was not a hoax, but real. Albeit it was technically not snow, but a form of sleet, frozen rain. There have been thunder storms and very low temperatures.

It is the first time this weather phenomenon has been experienced in tropical Zimbabwe.

The depth of the ice was 30 cm and it all happened within a small radius of 5 km.

A real trail of destruction was left behind, vegetables and houses were damaged, trees were being stripped off of their leaves while many small animals like rabbits and snakes died.

The meteorological services department has described the “snow” that fell in lower Gwero last Friday as a rare sleet phenomenon that has taken place in the country for the first time in history.”

Earlier news items were a bit sceptical, but it turned out it was not a hoax, it was really true.

MSN news (Microsoft) has put the Zimbabwe snow news on their website, including a video.

The BBC also reported on this in the Africa section and the stormclouds back the above;

“we got our weather team to look into it.

The BBC’s Aisling Creevey says that while what we see could be real, it’s probably more likely to be hail.

Hail, it turns out, is very different to snow.

We do get hail in hot climates from large thunder clouds.

She adds that satellite pictures show that there were large shower clouds in the area.”

A freakish weather event.

This was posted on Tuesday;

“nobody seems to believes the reports, including the country’s Meteorological Services Department (Met department), which will dispatch a team to investigate the phenomena.

Contacted for comment, officials from the Met department said they were trying to verify the reports and visit the site where the “snow” is claimed to have fallen.

Senior forecaster Tich Zinyemba warned the pictures may be a hoax.

He said the weather in Gweru in the past few days was mostly sunny despite the temperatures dropping at night.

Zinyemba said the maximum and minimum temperatures were between 17 and nine degrees celsius respectively.

“What I suspect (if true) could be the possibility that frost may have occurred in the early hours of the morning somewhere in Gweru’s environs but certainly not snow,” he said.”

Thanks to Argiris Diamantis and Craig M for these links

6 thoughts on “First Zimbabwe ‘snowfall’ in history”

  1. I visited Gweru in 1993 and a fishpond in the garden was frozen over in the mornings. Days are warm. Winter precipitation is uncommon. Even rain at this time of year is uncommon and the town is most certainly not tropical in the sense many of us use the word.

  2. sounds good to me! Sleet seems to be more believable than snow due to the marginal temperatures.

  3. It has seemed to be strangely cold at times at higher altitudes (cloud level), sooo, who knows.

  4. rabbits died?
    the snakes I understand cos theyre reliant on external heat sunshine or soil warmth usually
    but bunnies?
    thats rather funny:-)
    they have deep burrows so how they managed to die is odd..unless they couldnt find burrows in the snow/sleet
    which would really have meant a nightime fall as theyre not usually very visible in daylight hrs.

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