Flood warning issued for 3 provinces as heavy rains set to continue

Residents of three provinces have been warned to be on the alert for localized flooding as incessant rainfall is expected to continue.

The non-stop rainfall has caused damage and flooding since tropical storm Eloise hit Mozambique over two weeks ago. The South African Weather Service’s forecaster Luthando Masimini said while the storm’s effects were initially felt, it had since passed.

“The weather that we are experiencing right now in South Africa is caused by the continental tropical low-pressure system that is sitting over the northern part of Botswana.

“Next week we should have the easing off as the system shifts off. The areas that are still affected by the heavy rains and localised flooding are still the eastern parts of the North West province, the northern parts of the Free State as well as the western part of Limpopo,” he said.

Masimini said while the rain might be devastating, it might be a sign that the country was finally coming out of the grip of a three-year drought.

Parts of the Northern Cape have seen rains that damaged roads and infrastructure with people unable to travel through parts of Kimberley.

Sputnik Ratau, the spokesperson of the Department of Water and Sanitation, said while they asked residents to be cautious, there was not much that could be done until the rain stops.

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“There is nothing much we can do until the water subsides. Roads have been washed away, but we just have to wait for the water to dry. In areas where people live near our catchment areas, we are asking people to not take chances. We ask people to move away and to not cross low lying bridges because you don’t know how deep the water is. We are working with municipalities and NGOs to warn people beforehand about the destructive rains.”

He said some of the dams, like the Kruger National Park dam, had reached over 100% capacity, but had not caused damage.

Ratau said the majority of the country’s dams could withstand floods without being damaged and spilling into communities.

Positive side of the rain

While the rain had caused damage in some areas, Masimini said this might be a good sign that the country had finally passed the drawn out drought that gripped it. “This is a positive sign, I would have to look at the dam level, but this might be that we are over the drought.”

He said from next week, most parts of the country should experience normal seasonal partly cloudy weather. The Vaal Dam was 92.5% full by 17:00 on Saturday and was expected to be 100% full by the end of the week. This time last year, the dam was just under 64.5% full.

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