KwaZulu-Natal - Severe storms like the one that hit several parts of the province at the weekend, leaving hundreds of people homeless, could worsen and become more regular over the next two decades.
This is according to Willem Landman, meteorologist at the Council for Science and Industrial Research in Pretoria.
He was speaking after a fierce hailstorm battered Ladysmith and its surrounding areas on Sunday night.
According to co-operative governance MEC Nomusa Dube, the areas worst hit were Acacia, Steadville, Tsakane and Model Kloof in Ladysmith.
KwaZulu-Natal would need millions of rand to help the people affected, Dube said in a statement on Monday.
Speaking to The Mercury, Landman said the violent weather, including this year’s “unusual” heavy snow, was a clear sign of climate change.
“In the next few decades we will see summer being cut in half, and the weather becoming worse than it is now.
“It will be too hot and dry, and we will also have severe hailstorms,” he said.
On Monday, organisations such as Gift of the Givers and the al-Imdaad Foundation handed out food parcels and blankets to affected people. The SANDF assisted with rescue operations.
Dube appealed for more “good Samaritans” to provide help. “We need everyone in the spirit of Ubuntu to make a contribution. It is time for humanity to unite,” she said.
She told residents that disaster management was monitoring the weather, and the province was on full alert and ready to act if there were more storms.
SA Weather Service forecaster Lucky Makhwedzha said that Tuesday held an 80 percent chance of rain for the province.
Over the next few days there would be light rain and afternoon thunderstorms.
By Wednesday the chance of rain would be down to 30 percent.
“Next week we will experience isolated thunderstorms,” he said.
The Mercury and Sapa