Tropical storm Dineo: crucial tips for staying safe

By YOU
16 February 2017

Residents of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northern KwaZulu-Natal are urged to stay safe, with tropical storm Dineo set to make landfall imminently.

Residents of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and northern KwaZulu-Natal are bracing themselves for the ripple effects of Dineo, the severe tropical storm which, according to the South African Weather Service, is set to make landfall imminently.

The storm, which has since been downgraded from cyclone status and is now known as ex-Dineo, is still strong enough to pose a great risk.

Watch the storm live here

According to reports, four people in Mozambique have already died as a result of the storm. Read more about the storm here.

"By 8 am this morning, tropical cyclone Dineo has downgraded to a tropical depression and is now referred to as ex-Dineo," the South African Weather Service said on Tuesday.

"Ex-Dineo" basically means the formerly marine system is now located over land. However, this does not mean Dineo is less dangerous.

"Though Dineo has weakened the rain will still be excessive and flooding devastating," the organisation added. "Dineo is not becoming less dangerous in terms of flooding."

For residents in the affected areas, here are some tips for saying safe:

HEAVY RAIN:

  • Try to make arrangements to park your car undercover and delay travelling until the storm has subsided.
  • If you are caught in a heavy storm, look for cover. This could include a covered car park, a petrol station, or under a bridge. But take extreme care when pulling over: put on your hazard lights, and don’t risk your safety or the safety of others by dashing madly for cover.
  • Don’t park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and debris. Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.
  • If you’re on the road and visibility is too poor or the road is too slippery, rather pull over and switch on your car’s hazards until visibility or traction improves.
  • Make sure that any dead and rotting branches on your property are removed from trees to avoid the risk of falling debris during a severe storm. Also ensure that debris is removed from roofs and gutters.
  • Make sure that your outdoor furniture is safely stored or firmly secured.
  • The power surge of a lightning strike can easily overload most appliances and devices. It’s best to unplug these before the storm arrives.

FLOODS:

  • It is sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags. These can be placed against doorways and low-level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home. Also move valuable items to the highest possible floor or shelf if a flood threatens.
  • General and regular home maintenance, such as clearing debris from gutters, is essential and will most definitely limit damage and discomfort in times of disaster.
  • Turn off gas and electricity if flooding occurs.
  • Motorists should not attempt to drive in flood conditions. Remember that just 15 cm of moving water can knock you off your feet and water just 60 cm deep can sweep a vehicle away. Generally, if the water reaches the bottom of your car doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it is not advisable to drive through it.
  • Flash flooding often occurs when rivers flow over low-lying bridges. Avoid crossing bridges or roads next to rivers during heavy rains. If you do get stuck on a flooded road, it’s best to switch to the lowest possible gear and proceed slowly. If you approach a flooding stormwater drain at speed, take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid or aquaplane.
  • If trapped in a vehicle during flooding, rather abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground. It's dangerous to try and drive out of the water to safety.

– Safety tips issued by DialDirect

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