People react as a rare snow fall hits Johannesburg, South Africa, Tuesday, Aug. 7, 2012. The South African Weather Service has warned that extreme cold will blanket much of the nation over the next few days, which remains in winter. (Jon Gambrell/AP)

An intense area of low pressure at high altitudes, complemented by a deep pool of cold air, passed directly over South Africa yesterday and today, producing widespread snowfall.

“Heavy snowfall has been recorded in the Western Cape Mountains, the interior high ground of the Eastern Cape, Lesotho & Drakensburg,” said the South African Weather Service.

“Light snowfall has been recorded in parts of the Central & Northern Freestate as well as in Southern Gauteng from Sandton to Vereeniging,” it added.

Weather map showing low pressure at upper levels (18,000) over South Africa this morning (NOAA)

The Associated Press (AP) said today’s flurries in Pretoria were the first seen there since 1968.

In Johannesburg, weather service records indicate snow has fallen just 22 times in the last 103 years reported the AP. It gave this account of the scene there:

As the snow fell, workers at offices in Johannesburg rushed outside. Some twirled and danced as the flakes fell. One man rushed to the top of a snow-covered hill and slid down, using a cardboard box as an improvised toboggan. Despite the cold and the snow, beggars who line traffic lights in the city continued to ask passing motorists for cash.

Snowfall may continue in Johannesburg into tonight followed by slightly warmer weather Wednesday said the Times Live.

Weather rewind, one year ago: Snow blankets parts of South Africa (but not Johannesburg)