DURBAN - Disaster management teams have started mop-up operations across the KwaZulu-Natal Midlands following a severe thunderstorm that ripped through parts of the province and caused havoc on Wednesday afternoon, the department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) said.
The storm also brought hail which damaged buildings and vehicles, while heavy rains coupled with strong winds caused localised flooding and uprooted trees, Cogta said.
Affected areas include Pietermaritzburg, Ndwedwe, Maphumulo and Mandeni. Disaster management teams have been deployed to conduct assessments, but no fatalities have been reported so far.
Cogta member of the executive council Sipho Hlomuka directed disaster management teams to remain on alert as large parts of the province were expecting a disruptive amount of rain from Thursday afternoon going into the evening.
Hlomuka cautioned residents to avoid crossing flooded walkways and bridges.
“We expect that driving conditions on our roads could deteriorate and we are therefore urging motorists and holidaymakers to be patient and drive with caution. We have directed disaster management teams to monitor areas that are prone to weather-related incidents so that they can respond faster,” Hlomuka said.
Cogta said the weather warning received from the South African Weather Service indicated the disruptive rainfall could lead to localised flooding in low-lying areas, roads and bridges. The inclement conditions could also result in localised mudslides.
The inclement weather conditions are expected to affect the districts of Zululand, uThukela, uMkhanyakude, Amajuba, Harry Gwala, uMgungundlovu, Ilembe and the eThekwini metro.
Residents who experienced any weather-related incidents were encouraged to report them to their respective ward councillor or local or district disaster management centre.