Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
2 minute read
3 Dec 2021
5:43 am

‘Vicious’ weather: Is heavy rain normal?

Marizka Coetzer

More widespread rain and flooding are expected this weekend as another rain-producing system passes through the country.

Photo: George Herald

More widespread rain and flooding are expected this weekend as another rain-producing system passes through the country.

Founder of Hennops Revival Tarryn Johnston said she has not seen this level of rain or flooding since the big floods in 2019.

“It was vicious water, it knocked over walls at the country club, knocked over fences at the Irene farm.

“The model train caretaker’s house was flooded, it’s been a nightmare,” she said.

Severe floods

Johnston said the previous storm left the residents living in Mushroom informal settlement washed out.

“Due to work done upstream and all the cement from the development, the water was not being absorbed, but rather running down streams,” she said.

Johnston said it was a result of urbanisation and urban management planning.

WATCH: WEATHER WATCH: Joburg underwater after flooding, thunderstorms

“It’s because people treat our wetlands as dumping sites that the absorption capacity of the wetlands has minimised,” she said.

Gauteng weather

Chief executive of the South Africa Water Chamber Benoit le Roy said the rain in Gauteng didn’t affect the
dams because of the integrated Vaal River system.

“The Vaal River starts in Mpumalanga, so you need rain in Mpumalanga,” he said.

Le Roy said the Vaal River also got water from rain and melting snow in Lesotho.

“Another source of water for the Vaal River was the Tugela River in KwaZulu Natal,” he said.

Le Roy said the intervention transfer ensures that water from the various dams kept the other dams, like the Sterkfontein dam, full.

“It doesn’t get rain and it’s not a catchment area,” he said. LeRoy said to fill up the Vaal Dam, it needed rain from
the Free State and Mpumalanga, not from Gauteng.

“When we do get rain here, people water their gardens less so they demand less water and keep the water in
our dams,” he said.

ALSO READ: Flooding in pictures: George under water, residents urged to stay home

La Niña weather conditions

Mitchell Krog from AfriWX Weather Forecasters said SA was in a La Niña system, which meant above normal rainfall.

“La Niña seasons don’t last forever so we could very easily enter an El Niño again next season,” Krog said.

Forecaster at the South African Weather Service, Kumsa Masizana, said the recent storms and rainfall were normal for this time of year.

“This kind of system will persist from now until the end of February into March,” Masizana said.

She said there will be occasional winter systems or cut-off low-pressure systems passing through. Masizana explained the cut-off low-pressure system developed in the air and extended to the surface.

“It is known as a rain-producing system that causes widespread rain across the country. On Saturday, another cut-off low-pressure system will be on its way and is going to bring rain across the entire country.

“It is going to be cloudy the whole weekend,” she said.