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La Niña brings more rain than expected but destruction too

A man crosses Madiba Street on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

A man crosses Madiba Street on a rainy Saturday afternoon. Picture: Jacques Naude/African News Agency (ANA)

Published Dec 13, 2021


Betty Moleya

Pretoria - The International Research Institute for Climate and Society (IRI) recently issued a La Niña advisory, in which it said South Africa is set to receive more rain than expected over the summer.

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But according to Seasonal Climate Watch August to December, the anticipated above-normal rainfall during spring was likely to have minimal impact on water resources over the summer rainfall regions of the country.

The seasonal watch said, however, there was below-normal rainfall over the south-western parts of the country, which would probably add pressure on water resources, particularly in regions like the Eastern Cape, where water reservoirs wer already burdened due to drought.

La Niña, the IRI said, was an intermittent climate phenomenon caused by the cooling of surface ocean water along the tropical west coast of South America.

“Although rain is good for drought affected regions and for the environment, sometimes its after-effects are not good for those staying in areas that are more likely to get flooding.

“For the agricultural industry the above-normal rainfall is likely to bring positive impacts for crop and livestock production.”

La Niña is known to not only bring flooding, but also rainfall with strong winds and severe lighting.

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Hence people are advised to remain vigilant and protect themselves and their property in case they are faced with such weather conditions.

Parts of Pretoria, over the weekend, experienced heavy rain and hail, and a warning to stay away from low-lying bridges and overflowing rivers and roads was sent out. “When hail is forecast, try to make arrangements to park your car undercover and delay travelling until the storm has subsided,” the SA Weather Service advised.

As vehicles and people have had to be rescued after falling into rushing water, the weather bureau said: “In case of being trapped in a vehicle during flooding, you are advised to climb on top of their car for safety.

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“Abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground as it is dangerous to try and drive out of the water to safety.”

They advised people living in flood-prone areas to move high-value items to the highest possible floor or shelf if a flood threatens.

“Avoid crossing bridges or roads next to rivers during heavy rains. Avoid taking shelter under trees, as this increases the risk of falling debris causing damage or injury.”

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Each municipality has a disaster management plan, which co-ordinates and facilitate access to the resources needed to identify and reduce risks and thus to eliminate the impact of disasters and emergencies on people, property and the environment.

Insurance firms also stepped in to advise people to insure their properties and valuables during difficult weather conditions. As the forecast was updated monthly, the public were advised to monitor updated forecasts.

Pretoria News