No end in sight as floods hit motorists

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Copy of ST flood  0496 (40460299) Independent Newspapers Heavy rains have caused havoc in the North West, with Mogwase the latest place to be affected by floods. File picture: Matthews Baloyi

Johannesburg -

Widespread rain across the north of the country has left at least five people dead, with the weather service issuing further warnings of flooding.

On Wednesday morning, a woman in labour had to take refuge in a tree to save herself from being swept away by a torrent of water near Barberton, in Mpumalanga.

“She went into labour and tried to cross the river to get to hospital,” said the unit’s spokeswoman, Captain Joey Potgieter.

She was airlifted to safety and gave birth.

She wasn’t the only person that the police diving unit in Mpumalanga had to save.

Copy of ST Westdene 0675 (40460297) Commuters on a motorcycle pass a bridge in Westdene. An overflowing Westdene Dam led to the flooding of Lewis Road. Picture: Boxer Ngwenya Independent Newspapers

Seven people had to be rescued off the roof of their house and another man from his car’s roof.

Four people drowned across the province, the dive unit’s spokeswoman, Captain Joey Potgieter said.

There is also fear that there could be serious flood damage at the Kruger National Park, as water levels continue to rise.

Flooding in Brits resulted in the death of a 56-year-old woman while four other people were rescued after their cars were swept away.

North West provincial spokesman Lesiba Kgwele said the deceased Meisie van Tonder was found by police divers on Wednesday morning, while the four others were rescued on Tuesday evening.

Across Gauteng on Wednesday, rain caused dams to overflow, leading to accidents and an increased number of potholes.

Gauteng traffic police spokesman Obed Sibasa said the number of cars damaged due to potholes had reached 25.

Orlando Pirates player Rooi Mahamutsa narrowly escaped injury on Wednesday when his BMW was written off, after a section of highway railing in Marlboro smashed through his windscreen. According to Pirates spokesman Mickey Modisane, the accident was most likely caused by the wet roads. He said Mahamutsa did not suffer any injuries.

“Four people had to be rescued after the two cars they were in got stuck in the flooding of the overflowing Westdene Dam,” said metro police spokesman Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

He said Lewis Road, which is near the dam, had been closed off.

The SA Weather Service has recorded rainfall exceeding 50mm in 24 hours at their stations, with the highest in Gauteng being 79.4mm at the Bolepi House station in Pretoria.

Rainy weather conditions are expected to continue in parts of the country for the next seven days, the weather service said on Thursday.

“This is due to warm, moist tropical air coming in from the north,” said forecaster Dransby Dulo.

Areas that would be most affected included Gauteng, Limpopo, Mpumalanga, North West, KwaZulu-Natal, and the northern half of the Free State.

Dulo said an 80 percent chance of showers and thunder showers was expected on Thursday and Friday in Gauteng, Limpopo, and Mpumalanga.

“This could cause possible floods in the area,” he said.

A 60 percent chance of showers and thunder showers could be expected over the weekend in these areas.

“The rainy weather conditions should clear up in the next seven days,” Dulo said.

 

The forecaster said the weather was not unusual and though it did not happen every year, it was usual for the Spring and Autumn seasons.

Meanwhile the water level at Kruger National Park is nearing that of the flooding in February 2000, when the SANDF had to evacuate the Skukuza area, said the park’s spokesman William Mabasa.

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The Star and Sapa



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