Deluge swamps households

2016-03-18 13:00
Colin Lutchman points to the level the flood waters reached in his garage in Allandale during the storm on Wednesday night.

Colin Lutchman points to the level the flood waters reached in his garage in Allandale during the storm on Wednesday night. (Ian Carbutt, The Witness)

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Pietermaritzburg - The storm that hit Pietermaritzburg on ­Wednesday night brought with it a massive 119,4 mm of rain, amounting to 14% of the city’s annual total.

The raging storm, which unleashed 10 mm of water every two minutes, flooded homes and tore down walls and gates, leaving a path of ­destruction in its wake.

The early evening downpour flooded streets across the city, leaving vehicles stranded and ­cutting the electricity in some areas.

Allandale residents Trisha and Colin Lutchman said they were upstairs in their bedroom when they heard the sound of rushing water.

“I came downstairs and rain water had flooded the house.

“The water was knee deep,” said Trisha.

“The lights went out and we couldn’t see ­anything, but there was just water everywhere.”

She said they later heard crashing sounds and, on investigating, found their fridge, washing ­machine and deep freezer floating around in the kitchen and along the passage.

“The water was rushing into our garage and our car lifted off the ground and crashed into the garage door.

“We managed to rescue our dog and bearded dragon from the water.

“Everyone was scared. We saw the water start to come up the stairs and I was so scared we might be electrocuted.”

She said they tried to get outside, but the force of the water pushing against the doors kept them trapped inside the house.

Trisha said she was glad that the ordeal was over and that her family was safe.

Another Allandale resident, Riona Harry, said the force of the water lapping against her house broke one of her windows.

“The lights just kept tripping and we heard ­water gushing into the house.

“When the lights finally came on, all this water was pouring into the lounge and kitchen. It was crazy.

“It was like a tsunami. This wave of water just swept across the yard and our dog got caught in it. We managed to rescue him and thankfully he is fine,” she said.

Diningroom chairs, shoes and other household items lined the deck outside Harry’s house ­yesterday as the family tried to dry the soaking furniture and other items.

Harry’s neighbours, who were not at home ­during the storm, suffered extensive damage when their garage collapsed and their garden wall fell into another neighbour’s property.

Mud and debris littered driveways and streets as residents tried to clean up the mess left in the storm’s wake.

Newlyn Road resident Subash Rajman and his wife had been trapped in their home since 8 pm on Wednesday night, when a large tree fell across their driveway.

Another Allandale resident, Lutchman ­Harichand (83), said he and his wife had spent hours cleaning up the water damage left by Wednesday’s storm.

ER24 spokesperson Paul Knoesen said the storm left many cars stranded in flooded streets and caused a few minor accidents. No serious ­injuries or deaths were reported.

Umgeni Water corporate stakeholder manager Shami Harichunder said rainfall figures for the Mgeni system had not been finalised, but the level at Hazelmere Dam had increased by 14 mm in the past 24 hours.

He said Umgeni Water had begun reducing the amount of potable water supplied to ­municipalities by five percent, meaning that consumers were now receiving five percent less water.

“Restrictions of 50% remain in place in the Hazelmere system.”

Over 400 informal houses in the Jika Joe settlement were damaged by Wednesday’s storm.

Msunduzi municipal spokesperson Nqobile Madonda said distaster management teams were sent out to Jika Joe with food, tents, mattresses and blankets for those whose homes had been destroyed.

Madonda said houses and roads had been flooded in Eastwood, Tamboville, Raisethorpe, Allandale, Southlands, Copesville and at Jika Joe.

She said one house in De Waal Road in Southlands had been struck by lightning, while fallen trees had been cut and removed from the CBD, Lincoln
Meade and Scottsville.

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  weather  |  storm

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