Durban — The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued an orange level 6 warning for disruptive rainfall along the KwaZulu-Natal coast and its adjacent interior for Monday. There is also a level 2 warning for severe thunderstorms in parts of the province.
“Orange level 6 warning issued for Monday, October 16, 2023. Heavy and disruptive rainfall can be expected along the KZN coast and its adjacent interior, particularly the southern coast. Widespread flooding is possible,” SAWS said.
Reacting, KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said the Provincial Disaster Management Centre convened an urgent meeting with municipalities and departments following the disruptive rainfall warning.
Mngadi said that Cogta is cautioning residents regarding heavy rainfall that could potentially lead to flooding in the coastal and Midlands districts of the province.
He said SAWS raised the alert level to orange, Level 6 – the highest warning level – due to the high risk of flooding that may damage roads, bridges and formal and informal settlements.
“The anticipated rainfall is expected to persist from Monday afternoon until midnight and could result in damage within the following municipalities: eThekwini Metro, Ugu, Harry Gwala, Ilembe, and uMgungundlovu district municipalities,” Mngadi said.
“The department has convened an urgent meeting with the Joint Operation Cluster which includes all municipalities that may be affected and disaster teams to put proactive measures in place.”
Mngadi added that all Disaster Management Centres have been activated to monitor the weather pattern and risk and respond to any unforeseen events. The JOC teams will assess the readiness status of all municipalities likely to be affected.
“Residents in low-lying areas are advised to relocate to safer areas if necessary.
“We appeal to all residents to closely monitor the situation and take precautionary measures to ensure the safety of lives during this period of heavy rainfall. Livestock owners are urged to find secure locations and adhere to safety measures that will be communicated through disaster centres,” Mngadi appealed.
The eThekwini Municipality urged residents to take the necessary precautions and warned motorists to be extra cautious when driving.
“The City's emergency teams are on high alert to monitor the situation. For emergencies, contact our call centre number on 031 361 0000,” the municipality said.
According to the SAWS warning for disruptive rain, the expected impact is:
- Flooding of roads, bridges and settlements (formal and informal).
- Danger to life (fast-flowing streams/deep waters).
- Major disruption of traffic flow due to major roads being flooded.
- Disruption to essential services (water, electricity, communication, etc).
- Damage to mud-based houses.
SAWS advised the following:
- If possible avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles.
- If trapped in a vehicle during a flood, abandon it and climb to higher ground.
- In buildings, move valuables to a safe place above the expected flood level. Switch off electricity at the supply point to the building.
- In rural areas protect/relocate animals to a safe place on higher ground.
- Take caution when travelling or avoid travelling as roads may be flooded, with potholes being filled with water and there may be sinkholes.
Regarding the level 2 warning for severe thunderstorms, SAWS said the expected impact is:
- Localised damage to infrastructure, settlements and livestock.
- Falling trees blocking minor roads.
- Localised injuries due to flying debris.
- Localised flooding
SAWS advised the following:
- Take caution or avoid travelling on bridges and roads in low-lying areas as these may be susceptible to flooding and there may be sinkholes.
- Avoid outdoor activities as lightning, hail and flooding may result in injuries and death.
- If possible, stay indoors well clear of windows, shelter pets, and cover vehicles.
- Move livestock and cars to safe sheltered areas as there may be flying debris.
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