Durban – The eThekwini Municipality has urged residents and motorists to be cautious with a weather alert in place for thunderstorms, heavy rain and strong winds expected on Thursday.
The municipality said that the South African Weather Service (SAWS) issued a severe thunderstorm warning for Thursday in some parts of KwaZulu-Natal, including Durban.
It said that according to the weather service, rain and strong, damaging winds are also expected which may result in localised disruption to formal and informal settlements and structural damage.
“The City urges residents to take the necessary precautions. Motorists are warned to be extra cautious when driving,” the municipality said.
“The City’s emergency teams are on high alert to monitor the situation.”
The municipality said that for emergencies, residents can contact their call centre at 031 361 0000.
SAWS weather forecaster Thandiwe Gumede said: “In Durban today (Thursday), we are expecting an 80% chance of showers and thundershowers. We also have an alert for severe thunderstorms, a yellow level 4 alert for Durban.
“The thunderstorms are expected to be accompanied by heavy downpours that might lead to flooding as well as a possibility of some strong, damaging winds and excessive lightning for today (Thursday).”
Gumede said that mainly cool conditions can be expected for most parts of the province with areas over the northern parts of the province expecting some warm conditions. These will be areas in the most extreme north-east as well as north-western parts, areas like uMhlabuyalingana, Manguzi, Jozini, and Newcastle, but mostly temperatures should range between the higher teens as well as the mid-twenties.
She said that the weather should pass during the course of the evening into the early hours of Friday morning.
“Specifically in the evening, rather overnight, to tomorrow (Friday) we will start seeing a clearance from the west, with the areas along the coast being the last areas that will see clearance, in terms of the rain, because the band is moving from west to east,” Gumede said.
The SAWS issued a yellow level 4 warning for severe thunderstorms with heavy downpours and strong, damaging winds, resulting in localised damage to formal and informal settlements, structural damage (bridges, carports, etc.) is expected over parts of KZN, except the extreme northern parts.
The SAWS is expecting cloudy and warm, but cool in the south-west with isolated to scattered showers and thundershowers, but widespread in the extreme south. The wind along the coast will be light to moderate southerly to south-westerly south of Richards Bay until midday, otherwise moderate to fresh north-easterly north of Richards Bay.
According to an impact-based warning issued on Wednesday, a level 4 for severe thunderstorms, valid from 2pm to 11pm on Thursday, was issued by the SAWS.
Affected areas include Alfred Duma – Indaka, Alfred Duma – Ladysmith, Dr Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma – Underberg, Endumeni, eThekwini, Greater Kokstad, Impendle, Ingwe, Inkosi Langalibalele – Estcourt, Inkosi Langalibalele – Sobabili, KwaDukuza, Mandeni, Maphumulo, Mkhambathini, Mpofana – Giant’s Castle, Mpofana – Mooi River, Msinga, Ndwedwe, Nkandla, Nquthu, Okhahlamba, Ray Nkonyeni, Richmond, Msunduzi, Ubuhlebezwe, Umdoni, uMlalazi, uMngeni and uMshwathi.
Heavy downpours, strong winds and excessive lightning are expected over most parts of KZN on Thursday, except in the north.
Scattered to widespread showers and thundershowers are expected over KZN with a possibility of them becoming severe in some places over KZN and resulting in significant impacts. These storms are expected to be accompanied by heavy downpours, strong winds and excessive lightning, the SAWS said.
Expected impacts include flooding of roads, settlements and low-lying areas is possible, which may lead to the closure of some bridges and roads. Displacement of some communities in low-lying areas and near riverbanks is possible. Danger to life due to fast-flowing streams is possible. Damage to settlements or structures due to strong winds. Falling trees blocking roads. Fire incidents due to lightning.
The SAWS cautioned residents: “Avoid travelling on low-lying roads and low bridges as they are susceptible to flooding. Avoid swimming and crossing on swollen rovers. Take caution when travelling or avoid travelling as roads may be flooded, potholes may be filled with water and there may be sinkholes. In rural areas, people living along the riverbanks must take caution and evacuate to higher ground if the need arises as the riverbanks may flood. If in rural areas, move livestock to higher-lying ground.”
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