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SA Weather Service issues flood warning for the weekend - here’s tips to keep safe

File Picture. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

File Picture. Picture Leon Lestrade/African News Agency(ANA)

Published May 19, 2022

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Johannesburg - As the country braces itself for cold and wet weather conditions over the next coming days, the South African Weather Service (Saws) has issued warnings of the possibility of localised flooding.

The inclement weather is expected to affect almost the entire country, as of later this evening and right through the weekend.

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KwaZulu-Natal residents have been specifically warned to take extra precautions ahead of the expected rainy conditions.

Due to the pre-existing conditions of water-saturated soils in parts of KZN, rainfall amounts exceeding 20 mm are likely to lead to localised flooding. It is therefore important for communities to take the necessary precautions to prepare for such conditions.

Flooding occurs when water overflows its normal channels such as streams and stormwater drains. It can occur with prolonged periods of rain, with continuous heavy falls, or in the form of flash floods which are usually associated with severe thunderstorms.

Picture: South African Weather Service

According to SAWS, just 15 cm of fast-moving flood water can knock you off your feet, and a depth of 600 cm will float your car.

People are advised to never try to walk, swim or drive through such fast-moving water. Stop, turn around and use a different route.

Follow these tips from SAWS on what to do in the event of flooding:

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  • If possible, stay indoors and off the roads
  • Avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles
  • Move to higher ground when flooding is possible
  • If trapped while in a vehicle, abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground
  • In dwellings, 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
  • Abandon your home immediately if evacuation is recommended before access is cut off by flood water
  • Never drive into water covering the road. You do not know how deep it is or if the road is washed out
  • Be especially cautious at night when it's harder to recognise flood dangers

The weather service will monitor the situation closely and will issue detailed radar-based warnings should the need arise.

The inclement weather is expected to have cleared by Monday, with temperatures also expected to recover.

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