Applying ’08 flood lessons

2011-01-26 00:00

SOUTH Coast residents can rest assured that despite the heavy rains that fell yesterday and on Monday night, a repeat of the 2008 floods is not on the cards.

A report from the South African Weather Service in Durban confirmed that the rainfall experienced on the South Coast is “quite normal for January”.

Motorists yesterday might have thought differently, though, as deep puddles could be seen on many roads in the Shelly Beach and Margate areas — some so deep that drivers were forced to drive in the oncoming lanes.

Marine Drive just outside the Shelly Centre looked like a river, forcing drivers to drive with extreme care.

“I hit one or two very serious puddles and almost slid out a couple of times,” said Giles Faber, who drove to work in Shelly Beach from Margate during the morning.

“But that is Mother Nature. I don’t think we can blame the municipality because these things don’t happen all the time.”

Another Margate resident, John Robinson, said he couldn’t believe how much it had rained.

“I haven’t seen rain like this in a very long time — since 2008 in fact,” he said. “Driving wasn’t easy but it’s not really a problem as long as everybody is careful.”

The run-off from the rains, which began on Monday evening, is being closely monitored by the Hibiscus Coast Municipality’s protection services department.

Victor Chetty, director of protection services, said teams had been sent out to all of the wards in the Hibiscus Coast to assess the levels and conditions of rivers and bridges in the area. “Everything appears to be in order so far, but we are monitoring the situation very closely,” said Chetty.

“If the water level of a river comes to within one meter of a bridge, then that bridge will be closed.”

Chetty said that his team has taken into consideration the areas that were most affected during the 2008 floods.

“We have learnt from what happened in the past and we have identified these as high-risk areas,” he said.

“We are crossing our fingers and hoping that nothing serious happens; nothing has been reported at this stage.”

Chetty confirmed that he has placed his team on standby and high alert.

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