WATCH | Chaos as heavy storm strikes KwaZulu-Natal
Occupants of a minibus taxi that was stricken by rising water on the freeway were rescued by paramedics on Tuesday morning.
Rescuecare spokesperson Garrith Jamieson said that medics had rushed to the scene to find the fully laden minibus listing to one side.
“The taxi had been driving through the rising waters when it got stuck. Paramedics helped the occupants of the taxi to safety. The road has been completely closed‚” he said.
Paramedics also responded to a call in Kingsway Road‚ where gushing water had entrapped occupants of a house. The occupants were safely rescued.
This follows a night of heavy rain with rivers in Pietermaritzburg and Durban breaking their banks.
Police search and rescue technicians were called to the Madiba low-level bridge in Sobantu outside Pietermaritzburg after a man was swept away by the water.
The officers‚ with the aid of a sniffer dog‚ searched the banks of the river but were unable to find the man. The search was halted by an approaching storm and diminishing light and is expected to resume when it is safe.
City engineers from the eThekwini Municipality are also assessing damage at various locations.
Police search and rescue emergency workers are en route to the Prince Mshyeni hospital in Umlazi after a call that part of roof has collapsed.
The South African Weather Service issued a warning of gale force winds between 70 and 90km per hour between Durban and Mozambique in the next 24 hours.
Warnings have been issued of severe thunderstorms‚ with a risk of hail.
A weather spokesman said: "Between 10am and 11pm on Tuesday more than 50mm of rain is expected which may lead to localised flooding over the southern interior and the coast. Always expect lightning when thunder roars. Stay indoors."
Meanwhile the eThekwini municipality warned residents to stay indoors until the storm passes.
The municipality said the disaster management call centre was experiencing high call volumes.
Residents are requested only to call the centre for emergencies on 031-361-0000.