10/03/2014. A school girl stands helplessly in the rain without an umbrella after school in Pretoria CBD. Pretoria has been experiencing heavy rainfall since the beginning of last week. Picture: Oupa Mokoena

Pretoria -

Tshwane emergency service units are on high alert following a week-long downpour that has led to flooding in several parts of the city.

Centurion residents have been warned to stay clear of the Hennops River, which is in flood.

Road users have also been cautioned to stay away from low-lying bridges.

“If you cannot see the road on the bridge and all you see is water, do not cross it,” Tshwane emergency spokesman Johan Pieterse said.

“It might be that the bridge has washed away and you wouldn’t know.”

Pieterse also warned motorists to heed road closures.

Despite a road closure between End Street and Rabie Street in Centurion at the bridge across the Hennops River, vehicles were seen on Monday making their way around the barricades, ignoring a “Road Closed” sign.

Pieterse said emergency service teams were out in full force.

“We helped a few people last week in the Irene area whose homes were flooded.

“We also assisted in rescuing a man.”

Tshwane residents should brace themselves for at least another week of heavy rain.

A warning has also been issued by the SA Weather Service.

Forecaster Vanetia Phakula said on Monday that warnings had been issued for flooding and heavy falls, especially for this morning.

“A lot of rain would be more than 50mm in 24 hours. From 6am till 3pm on Monday the Tshwane region received 27.4mm.”

According to the weather service, the heavy rains were caused by an upper-air trough that allowed plenty of tropical air mass to be drawn over the eastern and north-eastern parts of the country.

Further widespread showers and rain, combined with a risk of possible localised flooding, are likely to persist in a number of provinces, including Gauteng.

Road users took to Twitter to warn others about potholes that had reopened or emerged because of the heavy rain, as well as flooded streets and areas, while the Department of Water Affairs confirmed the flood warning.

“The department is warning the public of possible severe flooding in the central, northern and eastern parts of the country,” said spokesman Mava Scott.

Soils were wet and many dams full, he said, with the continued rain increasing river levels and the risk of flooding.

“The Grootdraai and Vaal dams are full. The Vaal Dam holds about 105 percent of its capacity, with seven gates open.”

Scott repeated the warning to people living near major rivers and those crossing low-level bridges to be cautious.

The department was co-ordinating with disaster management centres to ensure warnings are disseminated promptly, said Scott.

Pretoria News