Inclement weather conditions are proving to be a source of concern, forcing governmental departments to take proactive steps to minimise damage and loss of life—this follows severe storms around KwaZulu-Natal on Wednesday, 18 November 2020.
Such was the nature of the storms; the KwaZulu-Natal Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) explains disaster management teams have commenced with mop-up operations following the storms. On Wednesday, the department issued a warning in which it referred to reports from the South African Weather Service that foul weather conditions could strike large parts of the province. The forecast by the weather service initially indicated the possibility of hail, severe thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rains.
The warning proved to ring true, with the department confirming that a hailstorm hit parts of Msunduzi and the Midlands.
Several houses were damaged due to the storm. Cogta adds, “The storm also caused blackouts in a number of suburbs and technicians from the municipality are now working on the ground to restore the grid.”
Moreover, since the storm, a woman hailing from Umlazi has been reported as missing. It is believed that she was swept away when crossing the Umlazi River with two other women.
In Umuziwabantu municipality, a 10-year-old boy was rushed to hospital after he was struck by lightning.
In a separate incident, strong winds and heavy rains damaged several households in the area. Disaster management teams are still assessing the extent of the damages, and an update will be issued to the media soon.
MEC Sipho Hlomuka is now appealing to residents to continue to be vigilant, as extreme weather conditions continue to pose a risk to communities in the province.
The latest warning from the South African Weather Service indicates that severe thunderstorms are expected to hit the Abaqulusi, Danhausser, eDumbe, eMadlangeni, eNdumeni, Newcastle, Nongoma, Nquthu, uLundi and uPhongolo this afternoon going into the evening, 19 November 2020.
This weather is expected to cause localised flooding, hail, and lightning strikes. Residents in areas that could be affected are urged to exercise caution, both at home and when travelling on the roads.
Author: Quinton Boucher
Edited: Calvin Swemmer