Weather wreaks havoc

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hail in jhb INLSA Hail stones. Stock photo: Adrian de Kock

Johannesburg - Sixty-seven – that is the total number of vehicles involved in accidents in Joburg during the rainy past two days.

Joburg metro police department (JMPD) spokesman Wayne Minnaar said 53 of the accidents took place between 6am and noon, and the other 14 occurred later in the afternoon.

 “Of the 53 accidents, seven [people sustained] injuries, although not serious,” said Minnaar.

 The accidents are a result of the heavy rains that Joburg has been experiencing over the past two days. 

Initial reports indicated that the rain would clear in the late afternoon on Friday, but Joburgers must brace themselves for showers, according to a weather report update by Kenosi Machepa, spokeswoman of the SA Weather Service.

 The road was flooded on Ncube Drive in Dube and Moroka in Soweto. The Golden Highway between the N1 and Eldorado Park and the N1 double-decker freeway in Braamfontein was also affected.

 An electricity pole in Bryanston was struck by lightning and caught fire on Thursday morning.

 Emergency management services spokesman Synock Matobako said there had been several accidents in Soweto, including three cars that were stuck in water on Ncube Drive.

 One car had water up to tyre level and another was submerged to just above the windows. The drivers were rescued by neighbours.

Homes in Diepkloof, Orlando, Bramfischerville and River Park in Alexandra had some flooding. 

Matobako said the situation was being monitored by emergency services personnel.

There was a loud, siren-like noise from the Joburg sky early on Thursday morning. Seconds later, the dark clouds opened and hail barrelled down across the city, creating a blanket of hail a few centimetres thick.

 The storm woke sleeping Joburgers before 6am and caught those travelling to work in its icy grasp.

By 7am, there had been 28 accidents across the city since midnight, and the roads were a clogged web of commuters.

JMPD spokeswoman Superintendent Edna Mamonyane said one pedestrian was killed at 6.25am on the N12 near Lenasia and there were major delays on that road as the accident was cleared.

 Flooding was reported in Cleveland, Parkview and Alexandra.

 “This is an introduction to our summer weather; those are the types of thunderstorms we will be getting in summer,” said SA Weather Service senior forecaster Vanetia Thakule.

She said more rain and thunder was predicted for this morning in the city, but the weather should have cleared by the afternoon and people could expect a clear weekend.

The weather caused traffic light outages across the city, resulting in traffic jams and heavy delays of up to 45 minutes on some main routes. 

“People don’t change their behaviour of driving in the wet weather, and this is the cause of all these unnecessary accidents,” Mamonyane said.

She advised driving slowly and maintaining an appropriate following distance. 

Meanwhile, in Durban, major flooding was reported, with paramedics saying they needed to rescue drivers from their cars in some instances.

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 The Star



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