A tremendous hailstorm has battered some parts of Gauteng, causing widespread destruction and numerous reports of damage to windows, sliding doors, skylights, roofs, gardens, vehicles and outdoor equipment.
Various footage has been widely circulated on social media, with locations such as Midrand, Paulshof, Braamfontein, Marlboro, and the Joburg CBD being the hardest hit on Monday.
Despite no fatalities reported, Johannesburg Emergency Services detailed in numerous reports that it had its hands full responding to incidents that hit the areas where egg-sized hail stones resulted in devastation and destruction of property.
The Santam insurance company has received reports of policyholder damage in parts of Soweto, the CBD, Sandton and Midrand.
Fanus Coetzee, executive head of claims at Santam, said they had deployed rapid response teams to the affected areas, but it was too soon to estimate the full extent of the damage or the potential value of claims.
"Because of the nature of a claims process, it is too early to quantify the extent of the damage or how much claims could possibly amount to. What we do know is that the frequency and severity of extreme weather events is increasing, and we would advise policyholders in affected areas to take precautions where possible.
“We have activated our Catastrophe Claims Management protocols. Out first step on the hail damaged vehicles, for example, is to conduct triage on all the incoming hail damage claims to ensure that we prioritise repairs on vehicles rendered non-drivable and non-roadworthy due to damaged windscreens and lamps,“ said Coetzee.
“We have deployed rapid response teams to the affected areas and are assisting affected clients to deal with the aftermath of the hailstorm,” he added.
It was stated in various weather forecasts that there was no chance of hail on Tuesday, however, Johannesburg residents have been advised to get ready for inclement weather was expected to bring overcast skies, intermittent showers, and thundershowers.
The next few days are predicted to bring light rain and temperatures between 11 and 30 degrees Celsius, with Sunday being the warmest day in Gauteng.
The SA Weather Service issued a yellow level 1 warning for Gauteng, Mpumalanga, and Limpopo, which impacts localised damages to informal houses, falling trees blocking minor roads, and localised injuries due to flying debris.
Joburg Emergency Management Services (EMS) spokesperson Robert Mulaudzi said during a live broadcast that there were no casualties, while one patient was treated for minor injuries.
Martin van Wyk, spokesperson for Dialdirect Insurance, has also advised how residents can protect their property during the hail season.
Van Wyk said spiked hail stones (hail clusters) and hail stones the size of a ping-pong ball, golf ball, or tennis ball are the ones to watch out for when it comes to solar system damage.
“Although vehicles are usually the hardest hit, major hailstorms also result in millions of rands in damages to roofs, windows, sliding doors, skylights, and outdoor equipment. Homeowners who have installed solar panels are advised to ensure that their buildings insurance has storm-related damages as an insured peril,” he said.
Buildings insurance covers the loss or damage to the actual building structure as a result of fire, explosion, storm, flood, lightning strike, and ground movement. Solar panels are fixed to the property and, therefore, covered under a building insurance policy.
*Residents have been advised to keep gutters clean and free of debris to channel ice and water away from the roof.
*Outdoor equipment and furniture should be moved undercover, if possible, when a heavy storm is forecast.
*Roof structures should be checked to ensure that they won’t buckle under the weight of the hail in the event of a blocked drainage system.
*Don’t park under trees, as there is a risk of falling branches and debris.
*If you are on the road and get caught in a hailstorm, look for cover. This could include a covered car park or a petrol station.
*Take extreme care when pulling over, put on your hazard lights, and don’t risk your safety or the safety of others by dashing madly for cover. Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.