Severe thunderstorms expected in KZN on Friday

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PHOTO: colin brown
PHOTO: colin brown

The South African Weather Service (Saws) has warned of scattered showers and severe thunderstorms expected over the north-western parts of KwaZulu-Natal on Friday.

The weather service said it was expecting a surface trough over the central parts of the country with an upper air trough over the eastern parts of the country. These conditions coupled with high instability indices are expected to result in scattered showers and thundershowers over the north-western parts of KZN.

Saws said these thunderstorms were expected to be severe into Friday morning and continue again from Friday afternoon into the evening.

These storms are expected to be accompanied by heavy downpours, hail, lightning, and strong winds.

Areas expected to be affected include: Abaqulusi, Alfred Duma - Indaka, Alfred Duma - Ladysmith, Dannhauser, eDumbe, eMadlangeni, Endumeni, Inkosi Langalibalele - Estcourt, Inkosi Langalibalele - Sobabili, Newcastle and Okhahlamba.

The severe thunderstorms are expected to result in localised damage to infrastructure and livestock. Low lying roads and bridges are susceptible to flooding and minor vehicle accidents are possible.

Staying safe during heavy rainfall and hail

Below are some tips that ER24 urges all members of the public to note:

*A flash flood is a rapid flooding of a low-lying area. It may be caused by heavy rain associated with a severe thunderstorm or even a tropical storm. You will not always have a warning that these deadly, sudden floods are coming. So, if you live in areas prone to flash floods, plan accordingly to protect your family and property.

*If you are caught in a heavy storm, try and find cover. Ensure that you are not in the open or near any large trees or high rising objects that might be struck by lightning. In large open spaces, you may also be at risk to be struck by lightning. Be sensible and seek cover.

*Remember that visibility will be decreased during heavy downpours, which will affect your ability to see other vehicles on the road and pedestrians. Keep a longer than normal following distance and ensure that you decrease your speed. Your vehicle must be roadworthy, and your windscreen wipers must be in perfect condition. If you cannot continue your journey, stop at your closest filling station or covered area. Avoid stopping on the side of highways or under bridges.

*Where an area is flooded, it is advisable to seek an alternative route and not attempt to cross the road or surface. Debris is often not visible, and the current may be stronger than what is perceived.

*If you are trapped in your vehicle during a flash flood, instead attempt to abandon your vehicle to try and get to higher ground. If you get swept away in the floodwaters, try to grab onto anything you can to pull yourself to safety.

*If flooding occurs at your home, ensure that all your electrical devices are switched off at the main distribution board. Do not attempt to unplug or switch off electrical appliances near the water. Rather disconnect all main power from your main distribution board in your house. It is advisable that you know where this distribution board is situated and where the main switch is located.

Remember to keep a first aid kit and always ensure you have the necessary emergency numbers at hand should an emergency arise.

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