Irina kills 65 in Madagascar

2012-03-07 00:00

WEATHER forecasters now believe that Tropical Storm Irina, which wreaked havoc on the KwaZulu-Natal coast, is not set to make landfall anytime this week.

According to forecaster Wiseman Dlamini, the storm is out at sea and is not having any effect on the province’s weather at the moment.

Forecasters had warned on Monday that the storm might return to KZN later this week.

“It will remain cloudy and rainy at the moment and the weekend might come with a tropical low and a cold front, which could bring scattered showers and thundershowers for the weekend. But tomorrow the coastal belt will be partly cloudy with no rain and the inland area will be clear,” he said.

Irina has also had an effect on surfing competitions, with the organisers of the 2012 Quiksilver Goodwave Invitational postponing the event until Saturday at the earliest because of the unpredictability of the waves.

“With this tropical storm being so unpredictable the forecast has rapidly changed showing onshore winds in the morning — which are never ideal for an event of this nature,” said Dane Patterson of Quicksilver South Africa in an e-mail.

Elsewhere Irina left a trail of death and destruction in her wake, killing at least 65 people in the Ifanadiana district in south east Madagascar. Irina was the second cyclone to hit the island nation, with Cyclone Giovanni blazing the trail in February and killing 35 people.

KwaZulu-Natal also had its own casualties when Nhlobo Mdletshe of KwaHlabisa, north of Richards Bay, was found dead on the banks of Nzimaneni River yesterday. It is believed he tried to cross the river and underestimated the strength of the current.

Two young brothers, Sphesihle and Mlekeli Ngidi were injured when the wall of the house they were in caved in under the battering of heavy rain and strong winds in Mwolokohlo Village near Tongaat.

Ndwedwe Municipality community development officer Thetha Ngiba said the siblings were playing in the house before it collapsed on them on Sunday afternoon. “Their parents were in another house when the house they were in collapsed. Mlekeli was completely covered in mud and bricks and was only identified by an outstretched hand and was seriously injured while the elder brother seems to have sustained a fractured kneecap,” he said.

Ngiba said Mlekeli (4), was still in a serious condition at the Chief Albert Luthuli Hospital while Sphesihle (10), was admitted to the Addington Hospital. The storm did bring welcome rains to break a 10-year drought in the iSimangaliso Wetland Park.

The storm’s heavy rains and strong winds brought high waves and heavy seas, similar to that brought on by Cyclone Gamede in 2007.

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