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KZN residents warned of severe weather

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On the heels of last month’s tornado, KwaZulu-Natal residents have been warned to brace themselves for extremely cold temperatures, strong winds and rough seas this week as a series of cold fronts move across the country.

KwaZulu-Natal residents have been warned to brace themselves for extremely cold temperatures, strong winds and rough seas. File picture

DURBAN – On the heels of last month’s tornado, KwaZulu-Natal residents have been warned to brace themselves for extremely cold temperatures, strong winds and rough seas this week as a series of cold fronts move across the country.

The SA Weather Service (Saws) issued a Yellow Level 4 warning on Sunday as damaging winds and waves were expected between Port Edward on the South Coast and Durban, along the coastal routes and coastal communities on Monday.

It said these conditions might lead to the disruption of small harbours and/or ports, risk to medium to large vessels, dragging anchors and a danger to life from large waves.

“Damaging winds are expected over western KZN which may lead to injuries and danger from flying debris,” said Saws, adding that small structures could be damaged, there was a danger of runaway fires, and journeys would take longer.

In a statement, the weather service said several cold fronts were expected to reach South Africa’s shores during the week.

“The first weather system of the series is an intense cold front that is expected to affect the western and central parts of the country from Sunday and the eastern parts from Monday.”

It said bitterly cold temperatures were expected across many parts of South Africa on Monday.

“Maximum temperatures will not exceed 10°C in some areas, while daytime temperatures over the high ground are unlikely to exceed 4°C.”

In KZN on Monday, Ladysmith will drop to a low of -5°C and reach a high of 19°C; Pietermaritzburg will experience a low of 0°C and a high of 22°C; Durban 10°C and 22°C; Underberg -3°C and 20°C and Giants Castle -5°C and 17°C.

Saws advised that the cold front would exit the country on Tuesday, while another cold front would be approaching the Western Cape.

“Tuesday morning will be the coldest morning of the year so far, with many localities over the interior of the country expected to drop well below freezing, with widespread morning frost anticipated. However, daytime temperatures are expected to recover quickly.”

National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) spokesperson Craig Lambinon warned the public that rough sea conditions around the coastline would cause hazardous inshore sea conditions and hazardous shoreline conditions, compounded by the spring tide in places.

“We are appealing to the commercial maritime industry that are at sea to wear life jackets during commercial operations,” he said.

Lambinon also appealed to extreme sports and sport fishing craft not to launch in the current inclement weather conditions that were expected to continue into Monday.

“Anglers and coastal hikers should be aware of the spring high tide, with hazardous shoreline conditions compounded by rough seas that may cut off coastline areas during the high tide,” he said.

He warned that inland waterways, rivers, lakes and dams were expected, in places, to flood and/or swell where heavy rainfall was forecast by the weather service.

“Do not cross through flooded roadways or cross bridges over river ways that are submerged by swollen rivers.”

Lambinon said the NSRI, maritime authorities, local municipalities, the emergency services and the SAPS were also on high alert.

KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs (Cogta) spokesperson Senzo Mzila said MEC Reverend Thulasizwe Buthelezi had placed disaster management teams on high alert across the province after Saws warned that temperatures were expected to plummet this week.

“The department is calling on residents to exercise extreme caution as the plummeting of temperatures can cause risk to human life and livestock,” he said.

Cogta urged residents who rely on generators and braziers (portable coal heaters) to keep warm to ensure that they were used safely.

“We have instances in the past where people have lost their lives as a result of smoke inhalation as a result of braziers and generators,” said Mzila.

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