Mpumalanga warned of heavy rains

2012-01-17 17:24
Mbombela - Mpumalanga residents have been warned of heavy rains in the province's Lowveld area this week.

The provincial department of co-operative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta) warned that downpours, which began on Tuesday, are expected to continue on Wednesday and Thursday.

"We are ready for every scenario and have also alerted the police and army to be on standby if heavy rains cause damage to areas downstream," said Cogta spokesperson Simphiwe Kunene on Tuesday.

He said municipalities in the province have been instructed to report back to the provincial department three times a day about the heavy rains.

"We are especially concerned about communities in the Lowveld and Nkomazi, because they are situated down stream and all the water will flow through these areas towards Mozambique," he said.

The department warned that the heavy rains could result in an increase in dam and river levels, making small streams very dangerous.

"People must move away from river banks and they must avoid crossing full rivers and over flowing bridges... Parents must also keep their eyes on children,” said Kunene.

Weather Service forecaster Bransby Bulo attributed the heavy rains to the Dando cyclone that hit north of Maputo on Sunday.

"The cyclone has now been downgraded to a low pressure system but we still expect heavy rains in Limpopo, Mpumalanga and KwaZulu-Natal," said Bulo.

"It sucks in moisture from the Indian Ocean and heavy rains will be recorded. Currently it is moving quickly over the Mozambican border and will be over Phalaborwa in Limpopo."

A total of 136mm of rainfall was recorded in Maputo, Mozambique, between Monday and Tuesday morning and 31mm in Mbombela during the same period.

"Swaziland also experienced heavy rains overnight but we don’t expect the rains to be as heavy in South Africa as was recorded in Maputo. The system loses its strength as it travels over land," he said. 

The Weather Service predicts 60% to 80% chances of rain in Mpumalanga, mostly in the Lowveld.

Kunene said all the municipalities were on full alert and on standby.

"All road users are urged to be extremely cautious on the roads as they are wet and rocks might have fallen in some areas," warned Kunene.

Mbombela local municipality spokesperson Joseph Ngala said there were no serious reports of flooding by Tuesday morning.

Residents did however complain of local roads that were temporarily flooded around White River and the Kruger Mpumalanga International Airport.
Read more on:    mbombela  |  weather

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