Winds wreak havoc in KZN

Sunday Tribune - - FRONT PAGE -

ROAR­ING 65km/h winds wreaked havoc across Kwazulu-na­tal yes­ter­day, leav­ing some res­i­dents with­out a roof over their heads.

The winds from the south brought chaos to Dur­ban’s coastal areas and parts of the in­land re­gion.

“It is be­lieved the fierce winds were caused by a low-pres­sure sys­tem over the ocean,” Dur­ban-based weather fore­caster Julius Mahlangu said.

The winds bat­tered struc­tures, pushed over trees and caused traf­fic con­ges­tion.

Numer­ous dis­as­ters were re­ported in the Dur­ban CBD and sur­round­ing areas with some res­i­dents tak­ing to Twit­ter to show pho­to­graphs of trees that had fallen on cars, dam­aged con­tain­ers and road signs and the de­struc­tion of the large mar­quee at the Dur­ban Chris­tian Cen­tre.

Ac­cord­ing to KZN Emer­gency Ser­vice’s Robert Mcken­zie, five peo­ple were in­jured in two sep­a­rate in­ci­dents

A num­ber of mi­nor in­ci­dents were re­ported, Mcken­zie said.

Billy Cad­min, a for­mer Florida res­i­dent, said he had wit­nessed hur­ri­canes in the US, but had never ex­pe­ri­enced such in­tense weather as yes­ter­day’s.

Cad­min rents a house north of Dur­ban and at the height of the storm saw the roof of an out­build­ing ripped off and land in a neigh­bour’s yard.

“It was ter­ri­fy­ing be­cause there were cor­ru­gated sheets fly­ing ev­ery­where,” he said.

Mahlangu said the heavy winds would con­tinue un­til mid­day to­day, how­ever the wind­speed would de­crease.

“To­day’s rain forecast is 80%. The cold weather can be ex­pected un­til Tues­day with a max­i­mum tem­per­a­ture of 20 de­grees to­day and 21 de­grees on Tues­day,” he said.

The ethek­wini Mu­nic­i­pal­ity’s emer­gency con­trol and dis­as­ter man­age­ment unit warned res­i­dents of gale-force winds.

The mu­nic­i­pal­ity warned that waves of three to four me­tres along the Dur­ban coast­line could present a threat to bathers and surfers.

Res­i­dents in in­for­mal set­tle­ments should se­cure roof sheet­ing as heavy winds could cause dam­age, the mu­nic­i­pal­ity warned.

Depart­ment of Co­op­er­a­tive Gov­er­nance and Tra­di­tional Af­fairs spokesper­son Len­nox Mabaso said dis­as­ter cen­tres were mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion.

Mabaso asked res­i­dents to re­port emer­gen­cies to the cen­tres. Of­fi­cials were still col­lect­ing data from the dis­as­ter cen­tres on dam­age caused by the high winds, he said.

The emer­gency con­trol and dis­as­ter man­age­ment unit said it was mon­i­tor­ing the sit­u­a­tion and urged res­i­dents to log emer­gen­cies by tele­phon­ing 031 361 0000.

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