Tropical cyclone Freddy brings heavy rains in parts of SA, possible flooding

The Minister of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs (CoGTA), Dr Nkosazana Dlamini Zuma, has called on communities to heed the warning from the South African Weather Service (SAWS) and disaster management teams across the country regarding tropical cyclone Freddy.

Even though SAWS indicated that Freddy will have a very localised and limited impact on South Africa in the days ahead, Dlamini Zuma has urged all South Africans to be cautious, as rains are still expected in some parts of the country.

According to SAWS, the only province where there is a significant risk of direct impact from Freddy, in terms of heavy rain, flooding and/or wind damage, is in the eastern districts of Limpopo, in particular, Vhembe and Mopani.

These districts, including the northern half of the Kruger National Park (KNP), will be on the periphery of the heavy rain.

“To this effect, SAWS has issued a Level 5 orange warning, in terms of the SAWS Impact-Based Warnings system for the easternmost sections of Vhembe and Mopani respectively,” CoGTA explained.

The department has warned that this above-normal quantity of rainfall may lead to flooding, as the ground is already saturated after the recent rains.

“We urge all people living in low-lying or flood-prone areas to be careful and monitor the rising water levels and evacuate to safer areas or higher ground.”

Important useful tips during floods:

– If you are on foot, be aware that low-moving water can also be dangerous during flood conditions.

– Do not drive on flooded roads or cross flooded bridges.

– Avoid crossing low-lying bridges, streams and rivers.

– Be especially vigilant at night. It is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.

– Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing wate. Even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off your feet.

– Where possible, communities are encouraged to try to avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or other dangerous substances, and may also be charged with electricity from fallen powerlines.

– Motorist must be careful and avoid driving through flooded areas.

– Teach your children about the dangers of floods.

– Monitor weather alerts on radio and television.

– Keep your important documents in water-resistant containers.

– Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.

– Keep your cell phone near you and have emergency numbers at hand.

– Contact the municipal disaster management centres or the nearest police station or call the national emergency numbers (112, 10177 or 107) when faced with threats.

“We urge communities to work and cooperate with disaster teams and other stakeholders during the heavy rains and flooding,” the department said.

Source: South African Government News Agency