First seasonal rains cause havoc

2012-09-06 15:58
A woman hides behind her umbrella in the Johannesburg city centre. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

A woman hides behind her umbrella in the Johannesburg city centre. (Werner Beukes, Sapa)

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Johannesburg - The first seasonal rains led to flooding and road closures across South Africa on Thursday, authorities said.

In Gauteng, thunderstorms and heavy rains on Wednesday night caused flooding in Cleveland, Parktown, on the M1 highway at Smith Street, at Klipspruit Valley Road and New Canada Road in Soweto, Johannesburg metro police spokesperson Edna Mamonyane said.

She warned motorists to avoid crossing water-logged roads.

"People don't realise how strong the water [current] is."

ER24 spokesperson Vanessa Jackson advised people to stay indoors.

"If they do have to travel, they must keep their headlights on, keep a very big following distance, and slow down."

In Durban, a number of roads had to be closed or partially closed because of the rain.

EThekwini metro police spokesperson Superintendent Wiseman Mchunu said the N3 highway out of the Durban city centre near Brickfield Road was partially closed, and so was Francois Road in Bellair.

He said earlier there were reports of some vehicles trapped on the road.

Mchunu said the M25 (KwaMashu Highway) into KwaMashu was also closed.

The SA Weather Service said more rain and thunderstorms could be expected in parts of the country.

"Showers and thundershowers are expected over the central parts of the country, which includes Gauteng, KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo," spokesperson Kenosi Machepa said.

"The eastern half of the Free State and the North West will also have showers and thunderstorms."

She said heavy rainfall which could lead to flooding was possible in KwaZulu-Natal and Mpumalanga.

Severe thunderstorms were possible over Limpopo, northern Gauteng and the northern parts of Mpumalanga from late Thursday afternoon into the evening.

"On Friday, it will mainly rain in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal," Machepa said.

- SAPA

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