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By Cornelia Le Roux

Digital Deputy News Editor

Weather update: Severe thunderstorm alert Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga

The predicted thunderstorms are expected to be severe over several areas of Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

While strong winds and stormy weather are wreaking havoc in the Western Cape with a truck trailer blown off a bridge on the N1 near the Huguenot Tunnel, roof sheeting ripped off the Somerset Mall and several road closures due to uprooted trees, severe thunderstorms are expected to hit Gauteng, Limpopo and Mpumalanga.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued a Level 2 Yellow warning for disruptive rain and widespread thundershowers for Sunday evening until Monday over:

  • Gauteng;
  • The Lowveld area;
  • The escarpment of Limpopo; and
  • Vast areas of Mpumalanga.

Weather warning: Severe thunderstorms and rain

According to the SAWS, the inclement weather has been caused by a potent low-pressure system — known as a cut-off low — and the predicted disruptive rain can potentially cause severe damage due to flooding.

The City of Tshwane’s Emergency Services (EMS) has urged residents to remain on high alert following the severe weather warning with spokesperson Charles Mabaso calling on people from low-lying areas to be particularly cautious and avoid crossing river streams.

The stormy weather could lead to vehicle accidents due to poor driving visibility and slippery road conditions, power failures causing service disruptions and localised damage due to large amounts of small hail.

How to stay safe during thunderstorms

Mabaso said that any combination of hail, strong winds, heavy rain, and/or excessive lightning can accompany these storms.

He called on affected the residents of affected areas to observe the following safety measures:

  • If possible, stay indoors and away from metal objects;
  • Do not seek shelter under trees or tall objects;
  • Do not go fishing or play golf, as both golf clubs and fishing rods are good conductors of electricity;
  • Avoid crossing flooded low-lying roads, bridges, and swollen streams.

Emergency numbers

Mabaso said the EMS further calls on communities to be vigilant and to immediately report any fire or rescue incidents on 107 (toll-free) or 012 358 6300/6400. For ambulance services, call 112 (toll-free).

Residents are encouraged to monitor the warnings and alerts issued by the SAWS and other credible sources.

KZN weather warning for flooding

Meanwhile, the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) has warned the public of Level 2 and Level 4 disruptive rains expected in most parts of the province until Monday.

According to the weather service, rainfall exceeding 50mm is expected which may lead to impact such as flooding of roads and settlements, damage to infrastructure and traffic congestion.

Community halls open to public

KZN Cogta spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said they had activated disaster teams in all the municipalities that are likely to be affected by the bad weather to be on high alert during this period.

We advise communities to seek shelter in safe places. Public facilities, such as community halls, are open as safe havens for those in need of shelter.

Motorists have also been advised to be cautious on the roads due to poor driving conditions.

Municipalities that are likely to be affected, include:

  • Ladysmith;
  • eThekwini Metro;
  • KwaDukuza; Nongoma; and
  • Umzumbe.

NOW READ: Severe weather alert: Disaster crews brace for flooding, damaging storms in KZN and Cape