KZN battered by severe weather: At least 5 dead

Extensive damage has been caused in KZN by extreme weather conditions that have claimed lives and devasted the province.

So far, five deaths have been reported in the eThekwini metro, which has been the hardest hit, and dozens of people are being treated for injuries at various healthcare facilities. Yesterday, the area was pummelled by heavy rain, strong winds, hail storms and suspected tornados.

This is according to a statement issued by KZN Premier Nomusa Dube-Ncube, who will visit Tongaat today to assess the damage and determine disaster relief measures.

Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said in the statement that early reports indicate several areas within eThekwini metro have been affected, with some roads flooded, trees felled, and significant damage to infrastructure, such as power lines and roads.

oThongathi, in the north of Durban, has recorded the most incidents, with several homes severely damaged, roofs blown off, and trees falling on electricity lines, causing power outages.

Other areas around Durban, including Umgababa, Durban Central, and the western parts of the city, also experienced heavy rainfall, leading to flooding of some households and roads.

The strong winds also affected communities in the Amajuba and Umzinyathi districts, where houses were damaged by the strong winds in Newcastle, Dannhauser, Nquthu, and surrounding areas.

“Disaster teams are assessing the extent of the damages while providing immediate relief, including accommodating displaced residents in government buildings,” says Mngadi.

Cogta has co-ordinated the disaster teams from affected municipalities to provide temporary shelter.

“Public facilities have been opened as safe havens for the affected communities as the assessment continues. Roads are being cleared using TLBs to ensure that rescue workers are able to attend to the injured.”

Storm rips through Tongaat

Late yesterday afternoon, North Coast Courier reported on the storm that ripped through Tongaat, with high winds and hail decimating the coastal areas.

While it’s suspected that a tornado caused the widespread destruction, this has not been confirmed by the South African Weather Services (SAWS).

Reports of hail in the area first streamed in at around 16:00 yesterday, before videos of the ‘tornado’, which appeared to form inland, were widely shared across social media.

Golf ball-sized hail was seen as far south as Umdloti.

Golf ball-sized hail in Umdloti. Photo: Sent to North Coast Courier via WhatsApp.

All of the areas affected were also among the hardest hit during the 2022 KZN floods, North Coast Courier reported.

Yesterday, Caxton Local Media reported that parts of the country were covered in a white blanket, thanks to the first snow of the season, while other areas had already had damaging rain and devastation in KZN and the Eastern Cape, where two people died.

Chaos was also caused near Utrecht in northern KZN after an unconfirmed tornado moved through the area.

Weather warnings issued

SAWS issued a Level 6 weather warning for the Eastern Cape for yesterday and today.

SAWS also issued a Level 2 warning for the Western Cape for yesterday and today.

A disruptive snow warning has been issued for the Western Cape.

SAWS weather outlook from today until Thursday.

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