Johannesburg - The floods that lashed Joburg and Ekurhuleni on Wednesday left a trail of destruction, with at least six people killed, dozens of vehicles swept away and dwellings damaged. Several people were recovering in hospital after they were injured.
Flights were delayed at OR Tambo International Airport.
The flooding, and its impact, was described by police as nothing short of a disaster.
On Wednesday night, Joburg metro police department spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said the situation on the roads was a disaster.
“A truck went into nine cars on the N3 and four people were killed. We’ve had to rescue hundreds of people from the water, we are hoping the waters will go down so that we can continue our efforts,” she said.
“People have had to climb out of their cars and stand on roofs because the water was at window level. This is a bad, bad situation,” she added.
Emer-G-Med confirmed that two people had drowned following flash floods on the N3 near Linksfield, with people being treated for minor injuries. “Over 150 cars were affected with at least 10 pushed off the highway and down an embankment and completely submerged,” said spokesperson Maxwell Cohen, adding that around 2km of the highway was affected by flash floods.
Reports of severe flooding were reported on the N3 Buccleuch and Gillooly’s interchanges, N12 in Edenvale, Albertina Sisulu and R21 at OR Tambo International Airport, as well as Jan Smuts Avenue in Parktown.
A video of a car being swept into the Jukskei River was shared multiple times on Twitter. To the horror of those recording the video, a BMW was swept away. Shouts of shock and anguish can be heard in the background.
A video of raging waters caused by flash floods near Melrose Arch was also circulating on the internet.
Pictures of vehicles and homes almost submerged in the deluge were also shared on social media.
Among those who took to social media was Florence Masebe, who was trapped in her house after it was flooded. She managed to make her way to safety. “Floods are real,” she said of her rude awakening.
Just got rescued from one of these. No words. I'm doing all I can not to fall apart. pic.twitter.com/zYXuJnweUv
My whole house right now. pic.twitter.com/YqONarAIZw
“My whole house right now. Flooded. I’m wearing rain boots in the house. I’ve never seen anything like this. It’s real.
“Just got rescued from one of these. No words. I’m doing all I can not to fall apart,” she said in a series of tweets.
She included pictures and video of her flooded home.
See more flood pics here
Pictures also emerged of the parking area at OR Tambo International Airport and of the entrances to the parking areas partially submerged. The road leading into the airport was under water, with just the tops of several cars visible.
OR Tambo posted this on their Facebook page: “Passengers are advised that delays are being experienced due to bad weather conditions. Passengers may communicate with their respective airlines on the status of their flights.”
Some passengers took to social media to express their frustration. Among them was @JonahCash1, who said he’d spotted nine indefinitely delayed flights and four delayed flights.
“Complete and utter cluster f*** at OR Tambo.”
Another passenger, @ForFixSake, said he had been stuck at the airport for two hours.
Tweeting a picture of the flight information boards at the airport, @rayjoe said there was “chaos and delayed flights because of heavy flooding on roads to and from the airport”.
“Seems I’ll only get home to CT (Cape Town) late tonight,” he said.
@itsdancorder suggested that airlines should design planes that can take off during storms.
“The first airline to design a plane that can take off safely during storms will make a killing. Until then, we’ll sit at OR Tambo,” he said.
SA Weather Service forecaster Christina Thaele said there was a 60 percent chance of rain on Thursday, with a watch over Gauteng for severe thunderstorms.
“This means we could again experience flooding, heavy downpours and strong damaging winds with hail.”
She said parts of Gauteng including Joburg could expect intermittent rainfall and thundershowers on Thursday night and Friday.
“We’re looking at about 30 to 40mm of rainfall,” she added.