KwaZulu-Natal / 15 November 2019, 08:52am / Thobeka Ngema and Mphathi Nxumalo
Durban - The sun may have come out in Durban on Friday morning but the SA Weather Service warned people to take precaution as heavy rainfall was expected which could lead to flooding in parts of KwaZulu-Natal.
The warning came as school across the province suspended classes on Friday following a directive from the KZN Education Department who advised principals not to open schools if they did not have to.
According to a circular sent by the department, only grade 12's writing matric exams and Grade 11's writing common papers must attend.
Weather forecaster Thandiwe Gumede said there was an 80% chance of showers and thundershowers on the coast and adjacent interior, which could lead to flooding.
Gumede said there were thunderstorms along the coast on Thursday afternoon, which had not lasted long because of the rotation of the wind around the weather system. The storms were expected to return later in the evening.
“There will also be a 60% chance of showers and thundershowers in the Midlands and a 30% chance in the west,” Gumede said.
The weather would start improving from Saturday, when there was a 30% chance of rain, showers and thundershowers along the coast and adjacent areas.
The same was expected for Sunday, but with thundershowers expected on Monday and Tuesday afternoon.
Cogta MEC Sipho Hlomuka said all municipalities were instructed to have District Joint Operation Centres, which would co-ordinate responses to crises, operating 24/7.
“Our disaster management teams, from all 11 District Disaster Management Centres in the province, under the co-ordination of the Provincial Disaster Management Centre, continue to make their presence felt on the ground, in leading disaster relief efforts and conducting assessments of damage,” Hlomuka said.
“As part of these efforts, all municipalities have been directed to alert and, if and when necessary, evacuate communities from all flood-line areas and also from areas that are prone to mudslides and large-scale soil erosion.” He said 16 people had died in KZN as a result of inclement weather since October 25. “While we are still piecing together our lives, the Disaster Risk Management Centre has received a further notice from the SA Weather Service of adverse weather, which indicates that heavy rain (as much as 150mm or more) and gale-force winds are expected all over the province until Friday evening.
EThekwini mayor Mxolisi Kaunda said they had learned from the heavy rains of April this year. Since April, they had relocated 1 800 people, who had been evacuated, with only 300 still needed to be relocated. Kaunda said they had identified 11 vulnerable areas from where they had evacuated residents. He said disaster centres were prepared and their units were integrating their services and being
On Thursday, disaster management teams were dispatched to Mtubatuba, in northern KwaZulu-Natal, after the banks of the uMfolozi River burst, sweeping away three women, but they were rescued safely.
Residents living along the banks of the river were encouraged to move to higher ground as water levels were expected to increase.
Hlomuka and Kaunda said safety was their primary concern.
People should minimise their movements, they should cooperate with emergency services, move somewhere safe if there area is vulnerable and if there is an emergency, they should call 10177 or their district emergency service.