Weather experts warn of more heavy rains across S/Africa

South Africans have been warned to brace themselves and remain alert due to floods that have hit eight of the…

South Africans have been warned to brace themselves and remain alert due to floods that have hit eight of the nine provinces of the country, claiming lives of nine people and three still missing in Gauteng and Mpumalanga provinces.In a statement late Monday, the South African Weather Service (SAWS) warned that persistent and heavy downpours are expected to continue in most parts of the country, especially over the lowveld and along the escarpment areas of both Limpopo and Mpumalanga. 

“These areas have seen significant rainfall amounts the last few days and further severe impacts may occur, especially over the Mopani and Vhembe districts of Limpopo,” the weather experts said.

The warning comes barely hours after the government declared a national state of disaster due to the floods that have affected large parts of the country, with Limpopo and Mpumalanga provinces hardest hit – including its world renown tourist attraction Kruger National Park.

Police said heavy rains claimed at least seven lives in the past few days, and two people drowned in the Apies River in Pretoria, while five bodies were retrieved from a stream in Olievenhoutbosch near Midrand in Johannesburg in Gauteng province.

In Mpumalanga, some villages have been completely cut off – while bridges have been destroyed — and at least two people have died and three are missing, according to police reports.

An accumulated 100mm to 200mm of rainfall is predicted for Mpumalanga and Limpopo on Tuesday and the rest of the week, the weather services said.

The warning came as President Cyril Ramaphosa declared a national state of disaster over the flooding on Monday.

Presidential spokesperson Vincent Magwenya said the declaration was made to enable an intensive coordinated response to the affected provinces and, at the same time, warn the citizenry of the impending dangers. 

This means that members of the police service and the defence force might be required to play a role in response to the floods, Magwenya said.

SAWS said it would continue to monitor any further developments relating to these weather systems, and would issue subsequent updates as required, adding that the members of the public were being “urged and encouraged to regularly follow weather forecasts on television and radio.” 

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