Inland flood warnings issued

2013-01-20 10:00

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Heavy rains flooded the Kruger National Park, swept three vehicles, including an ambulance, off a bridge in Mpumalanga and stranded 85 Harmony Gold miners in Carletonville when their temporary shelter was flooded by heavy downpours yesterday.

In Malelane, Mpumalanga, Moeti Mmusi, the spokesperson for the provincial safety department, said the ambulance was carrying two people when it was swept off the bridge. Both passengers were rescued.

“A police patrol vehicle and another car were also swept off the bridge. The passengers of the civilian vehicle were also rescued but emergency workers are still on the scene searching for the patrol vehicle and its occupants,” said Mmusi.

The SA Weather Service has warned of heavy rains and possible flooding in all the inland provinces.

In the Kruger National Park, some parts have already been closed to visitors and those who had booked were directed elsewhere.

Ezekiel Sebego, a forecaster at the weather service, said the recent drought in these areas was not normal and that heavy rain was to be expected in summer.

“It is summer and it is supposed to rain in these areas,” he said.

The rain is due to clear by tomorrow in most areas, except for Limpopo and Mpumalanga, where it could continue for some days to come.

Sebego warned that the weather will make driving dangerous and said those who lived in informal settlements with poor drainage systems were at risk.

Captain John Forbain, spokesperson for the police disaster unit, said divers from the Eastern Cape and other parts of the country had been placed on high alert to help wherever they were called in the country.

Weather service spokesperson Kenosi Machepa said the heavy rain was caused by intense low pressure moving in from Botswana.

He said that, as a consequence of heavy rain, the rivers and streams were flowing strongly.

There were no warnings for the coastal provinces, except KwaZulu-Natal, which had 51mm of rain by yesterday.

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