NEWS

Durban The Latest Hit By Severe Weather, But These Conditions Are 'Nothing Out Of The Ordinary'

Weather forecasters say not all storms will be this severe and the public should stay informed about weather conditions.

10/10/2017 16:05 SAST | Updated 10/10/2017 16:06 SAST

The intensity of the storm that hit Durban on Tuesday caused panic among residents. Twitter users took to the platform to express their concerns about the series of thunderstorms that started in Johannesburg on Monday, wreaking havoc south and west of the city, before spreading to KwaZulu-Natal.

But forecaster Dipuo Tawana said South Africa was in its thunderstorm period now and that this was an annual occurrence.

"We had heavy rainfall that occurred in Kempton Park last year, about 81mm in that vicinity... It is nothing out of the ordinary," she told HuffPost SA.

"From September 1, meteorologically our thunderstorm season is starting, so we are going to have storms," she added.

She explained, however, that not all thunderstorms would be severe and urged the public to stay informed about weather conditions.

The storm on Tuesday swept through most of Durban, leading to South Africans calling for everyone to pray for the wellbeing of those affected.

South African Weather Service forecaster Aslam Sardiwalla said a warning was issued alerting Durban residents to the expected heavy rain.

"There is the possibility of the rain exceeding 50mm within 24 hours. In fact, it had already reached 50mm in the morning," he said.

So far, the southern parts of the city have been heavily affected with strong winds in the area.

However, Sardiwalla said there would be no rain tomorrow.

"The system will move out overnight and there is no rain forecast for tomorrow, just partly cloudy conditions," he said.

At least five hospitals have been damaged by the storm. According to the KwaZulu-Natal Health Department, King Edward, Addington, King Dinuzulu, Wentworth and Prince Mshiyeni Memorial Hospitals were severely affected by the extreme weather conditions.

"The department wishes to urge the public to be calm and understanding... [We] urge people who do not have serious ailments to delay their visits to the affected hospitals," it said.

According to the provincial department of cooperative governance and traditional affairs (Cogta), the death toll now stands at two. An eight-year-old girl was struck by lightning and a 46-year-old man died while trying to cross an overflowing river. Disaster management is on high alert and teams are providing emergency relief.

The raging storm has also caused electricity outages.

Johannesburg residents were hit hard by heavy rainfall, hail and a tornado on Monday, damaging homes and cars.

The tornado tore through the West Rand and south of the city and areas like Zandspruit, Delmas and Roodepoort suffered damage.

500 people were displaced and had to be relocated from Orient Hills on the West Rand.

Durban Storm Devastates Property