Several homes and vehicles were damaged following a freak hail storm in Gauteng on Monday night.
Residents living in Midrand, Fourways, and surrounding areas reported large hailstones from around 5pm.
Meanwhile, motorists were stranded on the N1 following heavy downpours.
The South African Weather Service (Saws) warned of partly cloudy skies becoming cloudy with isolated showers and thundershowers for most of Gauteng.
My car 😫😫😫! Yho I’m not okay. This hail, when I catch you 💔💔💔 pic.twitter.com/7eWcRho1HH— Cikida Gcali-Mabusela (@MrsMabs_) November 13, 2023
Johannesburg (Hillbrow) hailstorm. pic.twitter.com/1T9WK2hsp9— Yusuf Abramjee (@Abramjee) November 13, 2023
Saws has predicted that the province will be partly cloudy, warm with isolated showers and thundershowers on Tuesday, while Cape residents are bracing for more hot weather.
Meanwhile, Dialdirect Insurance is warning those with solar panels to take heed of the hail season.
Dialdirect spokesperson Martin van Wyk said that depending on the storm’s severity and the impact of the hailstones, the solar cells themselves can also be damaged.
He explained that spiked hailstones (hail clusters) and hailstones the size of a ping-pong ball, golf ball, or tennis ball are the ones to watch out for when it comes to solar system damage.
"Although vehicles are usually the hardest hit, major hailstorms also result in millions of rands in damages to roofs, windows, sliding doors, skylights, and outdoor equipment. Homeowners who have installed solar panels are advised to ensure that their buildings insurance has storm-related damages as an insured peril," van Wyk said.
When it comes to pro-actively protecting your solar panels, Dialdirect recommends the following:
Invest in reputable brands and high-quality panels: Tier 1 panels are typically tested to withstand hail of up to 37mm in diameter (golf ball-sized hail), but Tier 2 and 3 panels tend to be more vulnerable to damage.
Ask your installer about adjusting the angle of your panels to minimise the hail risk.
Once the hailstorm has subsided, inspect your solar panels for damage from a distance. If you think they may have been damaged, do not climb on your roof. If there is damage, there could be leaking voltage.
Dialdirect also offers the following general tips to keep in mind during a hailstorm:
Gutters should be kept clean and free of debris to channel ice and water away from the roof.
Outdoor equipment and furniture should be moved undercover, if possible, when a heavy storm is forecast.
Roof structures should be checked to ensure that they won’t buckle under the weight of the hail in the event of a blocked drainage system.
On the road:
Don’t park under trees, as there is a risk of falling branches and debris.
If you are on the road and get caught in a hailstorm, look for cover. This could include a covered car park or a petrol station. Take extreme care when pulling over, put on your hazard lights, and don’t risk your safety or the safety of others by dashing madly for cover. Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.
It is safer not to drive through a storm when visibility is poor, the roads are slick, and there is a risk of aquaplaning through deep pools of water and hail.
Remember that, with the sudden drop in temperature during a hailstorm, your car’s windows will be more prone to fogging up, hampering visibility, so make sure that your car’s defogger is working properly.