Two drown in KZN floods‚ two die in Joburg storm

Specialized police Search and Rescue Unit divers carry the body of a drowning victim out a ravine in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, on Sunday morning.
Specialized police Search and Rescue Unit divers carry the body of a drowning victim out a ravine in Ndwedwe, north of Durban, on Sunday morning.

Flash floods claimed the lives of at least two people in KwaZulu-Natal and a severe hailstorm wreaked havoc and claimed two lives in Johannesburg at the weekend.

Two people drowned in flash floods when they were swept away while trying to cross the surging Mona River in Ndwedwe‚ north of Durban‚ on Saturday night.

The river was in flood after heavy rains fell across the province.

Divers from the police Search and Rescue Unit‚ aided by a specialist search dog‚ searched the riverbank for the pair early on Sunday. Their bodies were discovered entangled in undergrowth a short distance from where they were washed away.

They were reportedly returning from a night out and tried to cross the river on their way home.

Police detectives have registered an inquest docket.

Divers are also searching for another man who went missing after trying to cross the Umhlali River on Saturday night.

Residents in Johannesburg were picking up the pieces and assessing damage caused to property after a fierce hailstorm that struck late on Saturday afternoon. Johannesburg mayor Herman Mashaba‚ who visited affected areas in the south and west of Johannesburg‚ said two fatalities were confirmed in Lenasia after a tree fell onto a car.

Pictures on social media showed houses that were damaged and partially collapsed in Protea Glen in Soweto with debris strewn across the road and falling on cars.

Jurie Bors was visiting his uncle in Protea Glen Extension 13 when the storm ripped through the area. He said it was the first time he had witnessed such a storm.

Protea Glen extensions 16‚ 22‚ 28 and 32 were also affected.

Protea Glen at soweto just now #Storm

Posted by Jurie Bors on Saturday, December 30, 2017

Management at the Trade Route Mall in Lenasia were also assessing damage after a ceiling panel collapsed outside the cinemas.

“It was predominantly water damage‚” Vanessa Fourie from Purple Plumm Brand Communications said on behalf of mall management.

The affected area was cordoned off and trading continued as normal. No injuries or casualties were reported.

Across the road the roof of the Fruit and Veg City Food Lover’s Market partially collapsed.

Gauteng Department of Infrastructure spokesperson Theo Nkonki said Johannesburg and the West Rand have been affected. The Gauteng MEC for Infrastructure Development Jacob Mamabolo is holding a news conference at noon to give an update on the hailstorms.

-- Today’s weather:

The South African Weather Service issued an alert for severe thunderstorms over northern KwaZulu-Natal and the eastern parts of Mpumalanga for Sunday.

Johannesburg – after a severe hailstorm on Saturday – can expect a slight chance of rain with a high of 30˚C.

Capetonians – in the grip of an ongoing drought and stringent water restrictions – can expect a high of 22˚C and rain on New Year’s Eve. A weak cold front will bring a 60% chance of around 5mm of rain.

Durban can expect a high of 30˚C with a chance of rain showers and heavier showers in Newcastle with a high of 31˚C.

It will be clear skies for Nelson Mandela Bay at 27˚C and Bloemfontein will be warm at 35˚C.

There will be thunderstorms in Musina (39˚C) and Mbombela (30˚C)

“If outdoors‚ seek shelter immediately but do not seek shelter under a tree‚ under telephone or power lines‚ on hilltops‚ in isolated sheds‚ under unprotected gazebos or picnic shelters‚” the weather service said in its thunderstorm alert for Sunday. “Stay away from electrical appliances‚ showers and baths.”

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