Storm wreaks havoc in the city

2018-11-21 15:30

Tuesday's storm wreaked havoc in parts of the city with strong winds blowing down multiple trees, blocking roads and in some instances damaging houses and cars. 

The storm, accompanied by gusting winds and heavy rain, struck just before 3 pm.

The Msunduzi Fire Department said that in the space of half an hour the department received several calls from around the city about storm damage.

“People have been calling in mostly about trees that have fallen over, but we have also received calls about roofs being blown off and cars being damaged,” said the department.

Reports of trees falling onto electrical wires and blocking residential roads flooded community WhatsApp groups on Tuesday evening as people warned others of the potentially dangerous weather.

Two unlucky motorists who left their vehicles parked in the shade of the large trees in the parking lot at Hayfields Mall returned to find them crushed by a fallen tree.

Emergency services were called to remove the tree and free the wreckage.

Owner of one of the cars, Shobana Pannalall, who works at a bank in the centre, said she was working when someone ran inside the bank and told her to go look outside.

“I was the last one to know about the car. I don’t normally park in that spot but today [Tuesday] I did.

“When the person ran in and told me to go outside, I was so shocked to see my car. It was totalled. I saw it and went completely blank, but what has happened has happened, and the people around me, including the mall’s centre management, were very helpful and supportive,” she said.

Msunduzi Fire and Rescue inspect the damage after a tree fell on a Nissan XTrail and a Getz in the parking lot of Hayfields Mall during Tuesday’s storm.

Trees were reported to have blown over in Chase Valley Road, Nedan Road, Montrose and Ritchie Road in Pelham.

The fire department said they could not remove the tree in Ritchie Road as it had knocked over cables and there was live wire in the street. “We cannot go near that tree until the power is turned off.”

The department also said that a tree had fallen on three informal houses in the Jika Joe settlement and would need to be removed by crane.

Fortunately no one was injured.

According to the South African Weather Services (SAWS) “severe thunderstorms were observed over parts of uThukela, northern Umzinyathi, uMgungundlovu and Harry Gwala district municipalities” yesterday.

Hail and damaging winds were also predicted late  on Tuesday over Port Edward and Richards Bay.

While temperatures in the province soared on Tuesday, with Pietermaritzburg experiencing a maximum of 36 degrees, temperatures in the province are expected to plummet on Wednesday.

According to the SA weather service, Ixopo is expected to experience a minimum temperature of nine degrees and a maximum temperature of 19 degrees.

Pietermaritzburg will have a minimum temperature of 12 and a high of 19 degrees with showers and thundershowers. Mooi River can expect a low of nine and high of 20 degrees, and Underberg seven degrees climbing to 19 degrees.

Thursday’s weather, while still cooler, is expected to be clear with no storms or strong winds.


Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  damaging storms
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