Floods, gales and snow
KWAZULU-NATAL disaster management teams are on high alert after severe weather conditions brought gale force winds, thick snow and high rainfall to the province at the weekend.
Weather SA warned of flooding in northern KZN. The Richards Bay CBD was already flooded, with the town having received a reported 320mm of rain since Friday.
Flooding was also captured in footage from IPSS Rescue, which showed the water flowing right up to the Zinkwazi Ski Boat Club.
MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) Nomusa Dube-Ncube said they had placed teams on key routes for quick response should the need arise.
Fortunately, despite south-westerly winds of 35 to 45 knots in northern KZN and heavy rainfall, there were no reports of fatalities by yesterday afternoon.
“We want our communities to be safe and urge all those intending to travel to drive carefully. We also appeal to all pedestrians to avoid crossing rivers or streams, because we have lost many lives in the past when people attempted crossing a river or drive across a low-lying bridge,” said Dube-Ncube.
The wet weather wreaked havoc on KZN roads. Since Saturday, multiple motor vehicles crashes have been reported. In Durban, two people were seriously injured when the vehicle they were travelling in rolled on the N2 south on to the northbound carriageway, on Saturday morning.
Rescue Care spokesman Garrith Jamieson said they administered advanced life support intervention before transporting the pair to hospital.
Just an hour later, paramedics attended to another road crash on Richmond Road in Pinetown where one person died. The person had sustained critical injuries when two taxis collided, and died in hospital.
Some of the 19 injured commuters were ejected when one of the taxis rolled several times before coming to a stop on its side. Several other crashes were reported.
Netcare 911 spokesman Chris Botha urged motorists to reduce speed, increase following distances, and keep their headlights on to improve visibility. Durban Fire division commander Melvin Ramlall warned that the roads were slippery.
He said potholes were not visible under the rain water on the road, and this and the spray of water from other vehicles made a safe following distance more important during bad weather.
Aslam Sardiwalla, the forecaster at the South African Weather Services, said although the weather would start to improve by today, there was still a 60% chance of rain along the entire KZN coast.
It is only tomorrow that they expect to see the skies clearing and the temperature warming up. Meanwhile snow fell on the Drakensberg and in the surrounding area leaving Sani Pass closed yesterday afternoon.
Sani Pass Tours said snow had blocked the pass near the top. It said conditions were hazardous and slippery and visitors were urged not to self drive unless they were very experienced 4X4 drivers.
Durban and other beaches along the North and South Coasts were still closed after the shark nets were remove-dowing to the bad weather.