Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)
Picture: Bongani Mbatha/African News Agency(ANA)

KZN disaster teams on high alert after lightning strike kills woman

By Lyse Comins Time of article published Nov 12, 2019

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Durban - KwaZulu-Natal's disaster management teams are on high alert after an SA Weather Service warning of floods and severe thunderstorms that have already claimed the life of a woman who was struck by lightning.

KZN MEC for Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs Sipho Hlomuka sent condolences to the Zimba family from the Okhahlamba municipality after Sthembile Zimba, 24, was killed.

Hlomuka warned that the thunderstorms could lead to localised flooding in the province this week.

Heavy rains were expected in the Ugu district on the South Coast and eThekwini municipality.

“Our teams are on the ground and we are urging residents to be cautious and to double-check the weather forecast before making any long journeys. We appeal to parents and teachers to ensure that scholars utilise proper routes going to and coming back from school,” Hlomuka added.

EThekwini Municipality spokesperson Mandla Nsele said the city was on high alert and its early warning system and disaster management teams were monitoring the situation.

“A number of areas in eThekwini have been affected by the substantial rainfall since last night (Sunday) including the north to the inner-west as well as parts of the inner city. The city will be monitoring flood plain areas as well.

“Rivers and streams will continue to rise with the predicted rainfall and therefore bathing in or crossing swollen rivers is not encouraged,” Nsele added.

“Litter can also block the drains and watercourses. This then leads to blockage of the culverts and water back-up or lateral flowing,” he said.

Nsele said the city was ready to assist residents affected by the heavy rainfall.

He said no casualties were reported although some roads were closed, including Pinetown’s Josiah Gumede (Old Main) Road westbound, before the intersection with Anderson Road, which had to be closed due to high levels of water as a result of blocked stormwater drains. He said officials were working to unblock the drains.

Metro police spokesperson Parboo Sewpersad said the only other major route affected was the M4 north between Lighthouse Road in uMhlanga and the Sibaya precinct traffic circle, which was closed to traffic due to flood damage.

“There has been a washaway. Traffic department engineers have done an assessment and they have advised that the road is going to be closed for an indefinite period,” he said.

SA Weather Service forecaster Edward Engelbrecht said heavy rainfall expected last night could lead to flooding in Durban and along the South Coast.

“Durban and that stretch of coast has already received about 86mm of rain which was recorded at 8am on Monday at King Shaka International Airport, so the soil is quite saturated and it can result in localised flooding,” he said.

Engelbrecht said a further 20mm to 40mm of rainfall was expected last night which was not ordinarily significant. He said the weather was expected to clear in Durban today but more thunderstorms were expected tonight.

“We expect an 80% chance of showers and thundershowers for the whole of KZN and heavy rainfall for the whole week and it’s looking a bit far ahead but its only expected to clear from Tuesday next week,” Engelbrecht added.

The Mercury

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