Heavy disruptive rains, and flooding are expected from today as tropical storm Eloise makes landfall in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: SAWS/Twitter
Heavy disruptive rains, and flooding are expected from today as tropical storm Eloise makes landfall in Limpopo and Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal. Picture: SAWS/Twitter

Main concern for tropical storm Eloise will be rainfall, says weather service

By Nathan Craig Time of article published Jan 24, 2021

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Durban - Heavy disruptive rains, and flooding are expected from today as tropical storm Eloise makes landfall in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal.

South African Weather Service (SAWS) forecaster Lulama Pheme said the coast could also experience gale-force winds due to the choppy and gusty seas.

“The threshold for heavy rain is 50 millimetres but we are expecting between 100 to 300 millimetres. Lives could be lost to the flooding if residents are not cautious. The usual rainfall was expected for Durban. Areas which have experienced heavy rainfall would be overly saturated and prone to flooding from normal rainfall in the week,” said Pheme.

On Sunday morning, the SAWS tweeted: “Eloise is currently over the extreme northern parts of Limpopo resulting in heavy rain in some areas of Limpopo and Mpumalanga today and later northern KZN. Main concern will be rainfall. Winds will not be a major factor.”

eThekwini Municipality’s spokesperson, Msawakhe Mayisela, said the city was not taking any chances and the Disaster Management teams were on high alert.

“These storms are unpredictable, so it is of paramount importance we are vigilant. We have marquees to house those who may be displaced, as well as community halls and other immovable properties. If need be, the city has a number of tents that were used during level 5 lockdown to house the homeless. All will be done in accordance with protocols. We are prepared and not worried about dealing with any disaster.”

KZN MEC for co-operative governance and traditional affairs Sipho Hlomuka said residents were warned and forecasts from the SAWS indicated severe disruptive rain to be expected in the Big Five areas- Hlabisa, Jozini, Mtubatuba, uMhlabuyalinga, Abaqulusi, eDumbe, Mthonjaneni, Nongoma, Ulundi, uMlalazi and uPhongolo districts.

“Disaster Management teams are on high alert. We are very concerned about these weather patterns and appeal to communities to limit their movement as roads in these areas could be flooded. Our teams will be monitoring areas that are prone to floods,” said Hlomuka.

Community halls and tents would be used should the need arise.

Eskom, in a statement said contingency plans were in place after conducting risk and impact assessments on infrastructure and the provision of electricity by the tropical storm.

“Teams are on standby to mitigate these risks. Heavy rainfall and storms will hit most parts of Mpumalanga, where most of our power stations are situated but we have ’wet coal’ contingency plans. Extra staff were added to attend to faults. We are working closely with the national disaster management centre and the provincial disaster management centres in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal,” read the statement.

Sunday Tribune

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