Everyone in KwaZulu-Natal – and the rest of South Africa – will be praying that the province can ride out a new wave of storms heading towards the East Coast this weekend. On Friday, the official KZN weather warnings were bumped up to Level 5.
KZN weather warnings ramped-up to Level 5
Switching from a yellow to an orange warning means that more damage to infrastructure is expected, and the potential for fatalities is rising. The SA Weather Service (SAWS) has issued an alert for flooding, as Saturday is likely to bring a troubling amount of rainfall.
“A cold front is expected to pass through KZN tonight, with a surface high pressure system that ridges behind. There will be widespread showers and thunderstorms across the province. Models indicate there will be significant rainfall along the coast on Saturday, resulting in flooding.”SAWS statement on KZN weather warnings
Level 5 KZN weather warnings, amid ‘threat to life’ from forecast floods
SAWS believe that several other adverse events caused by the downpours – including floods, mudslides, and the emergence of sinkholes – could also put the people of KZN in jeopardy. The agency says there is now a real ‘danger to life’ over the next 24 to 36 hours.
- The flooding of roads and settlements is ‘likely’, according to the KZN weather warnings.
- There is a ‘danger to life’ warning from SAWS, given that fast-flowing streams exacerbated by rainfall can be lethal
- With this Level 5 alert, damage to infrastructure and property is possible, with traffic flows likely to be disrupted.
- Mudslides, rock-falls, and soil erosion leading to sinkholes are all a possibility.
- Potholes and blocked drains have a chance of causing further disruption.
ORANGE LEVEL 5 WARNING- Disruptive Rain for the coast and adjacent interior of KwaZulu-Natal leading to significant impacts tomorrow Saturday (21 May 2022). pic.twitter.com/ZgVYpazo9H— SA Weather Service (@SAWeatherServic) May 20, 2022
KZN residents urged to exercise ‘extreme caution’
The MEC for Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs, Sipho Hlomuka, has urged residents to be at the very top of their collective guard over the weekend, fearing the worst from the latest forecast:
“Residents are urged to exercise extreme caution following a weather advisory that indicates that a cut of the low-pressure system could bring light snowfall, freezing temperatures, and severe thunderstorms in parts of the country, including KZN, from Thursday going into the weekend.”Sipho Hlomuka