For the first 15 days of the year, there has been an average of 100 mm of rainfall recorded throughout KwaZulu-Natal, as the inclement weather continues to wreak havoc on the coastal province.
This is according to data from the South African Weather Service’s (Saws) climate department.
The rainfall numbers are taken from the 29 sampling points scattered throughout the province.
The most rain fell in the southern parts of KZN, where areas like Port Edward, Margate, and Paddock saw 140 mm, 200 mm, and 189 mm of rain, respectively, for the first two weeks of the year.
Western parts of KZN, like Ladysmith and Van Reenen’s Pass, have also seen over 100 mm of rain since the start of January.
It is also worth noting that the data point based at the Makhathini Research Station, in the far northern area of the Umkhanyakude District Municipality, recorded 0 mm of rain from the start of the year.
Earlier this week, Saws issued a Level 5 weather alert, warning of possible flooding in coastal areas and low-lying settlements.
Authorities urged people to refrain from crossing bridges and using roads unnecessarily, as many motorways and low-lying bridges were overflowing.
Emergency teams from the government and private companies were stretched thin, as rescue operations were needed across the province, with many reports surfacing about people getting washed away into rivers.
The Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) confirmed that the weather-related death toll had risen to 58 people.
A South African Police Service (SAPS) officer was also killed in a motor vehicle collision after a truck smashed into the squad car she was parked in on the M7.
The truck smashed another police vehicle, two trucks, and two more cars.
“On arrival, paramedics found a truck had lost control while emergency personnel were preparing to recover the [first] truck and crashed at the scene. The truck ploughed into two police vehicles, two trucks, and two cars before it left the road, coming to rest down an embankment,” ALS Paramedics spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said.
The officer was identified as Constable Nosipho Zuma, formerly of Chatsworth SAPS, who was stationed at Bellair police station.