Heavy rainfall expected in Joburg could lead to serious risk of flash flooding

South Africans can expect widespread rainy conditions from this evening (Monday) over the central and eastern parts of the country.

This is according to a press statement by the SA Weather Service. The rain is expected to become heavy (more than 50 mm in a 24 hours period) in places as from Tuesday until Wednesday, leading to a serious risk of flash flooding.

The areas which will be mostly affected will be central and eastern North West, northern and north-eastern Free State, Gauteng, southern Mpumalanga, as well as north-western KwaZulu-Natal and the Midlands.

The increase in cloud tomorrow will also result in the lowering of daytime temperatures, especially over Free State and North West.

This active weather will be as a result of an approaching trough (extension of low pressure) in the upper levels of the atmosphere interacting with the moist and unstable air from the tropics. Indications are that some places may receive as much as 100mm in a 36-48 hour period.

This would result in potential incidents of flooding. In addition, severe storms are possible on Tuesday in the north-eastern parts of the Northern Cape province, where strong winds, hail and possibly heavy downpours can be expected.

On Wednesday, the heaviest rain is expected along the coast of KwaZulu-Natal where there will the added effect of the low-level onshore flow of the wind caused by the ridge of the surface high pressure system.

As a result of this expected adverse weather, the public is made aware of the following impacts that can be experienced:

  • Flooding of roads and settlements.
  • Occasional poor road visibility.
  • Fast flowing streams pose danger to life.
  • Displacement of affected communities.
  • Damage to property, infrastructure and loss of livelihood.

Precautions to take during flooding:

  • If walking outdoors, avoid crossing rivers and swollen streams where water is above your ankles.
  • Just 15cm of fast-moving flood water can knock a person off their feet and a depth of 60cm feet is enough to float a car.
  • NEVER drive on a road covered by water. You do not know how deep it is or if the road has been washed away.
  • If trapped within a vehicle by rising waters, abandon it immediately and seek higher ground
  • Listen to special warnings on radio/or television.
  • Be especially cautious at night when it is harder to recognise flood dangers.

The South African Weather Service will continue to monitor any further developments relating to this weather system and will issue subsequent updates as required.

Furthermore, the public is urged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio. Updated information can also be found at www.weathersa.co.za as well as via the SA Weather Service Twitter account @SAWeatherServic

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Staff reporter

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