‘I never thought I would be afraid of water, but this was horrible’

SAWS has issued an uncommon warning in the wake of Eloise, which is lashing the Kruger National Park

24 January 2021 - 17:49 By Staff Reporter
A hide at Kruger National Park, where a number of roads are closed due to flooding.
DROWNING A hide at Kruger National Park, where a number of roads are closed due to flooding.
Image: KNP/Twitter

An unusual red level 10 warning was issued by the SA Weather Service (SAWS) for eastern parts of Limpopo and Mpumalanga for Sunday into Monday.

This is due to persistent heavy rain, with “more heavy rain expected tonight into tomorrow”.

A red level 10 warning has been issued by the SA Weather Service in the wake of Storm Eloise.
SEEING RED A red level 10 warning has been issued by the SA Weather Service in the wake of Storm Eloise.
Image: Twitter

“This will cause serious strain on emergency services. Take extreme caution in these areas,” SAWS said.

On Sunday, Storm Eloise was over the north of SA, where the service downgraded its status from tropical cyclone to tropical depression. Disaster management teams were on standby.

Roads were flooding, as was the Kruger National Park.

In an update, the park said: “All gravel roads around Mopani closed, 66mm rainfall. Boulders, Shipandani not accessible. Mopani to Phalaborwa road closed, guests will have to please drive via Letaba to Phalaborwa. All gravel roads and H13-1 tar road in Nxanatseni (far north) are closed due to flooding. Tsendze Bridge on H14 is under water. Road closed from Phalaborwa side as well.

“Rainfall measured as at 10am on Sunday was: Pafuri: Mabiligwe 77.5mm; Outpost 100mm; Eco training 100mm; Pafuri 80mm. Mooiplaas 66mm, Mah 56mm. Luvuvhu picking up. Limpopo still medium flood. All drainage lines coming down. Klopperfontein something to see! Pioneer dam overflowing.”

The cyclone earlier hit central Mozambique near the port city of Beira, with wind speeds of up to 160km/h, the BBC reported. The city received 250mm of rain in 24 hours, according to Mozambique’s National Institute of Meteorology (INAM), leaving four people dead, as local officials and aid agencies assessed the damage so they could help those affected. Power and communications were cut off in some areas.

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Chris Neeson, who works for the UN in Beira, told the BBC: “It was impossible to sleep because of the noise and fear.

“I heard so much wind and rain in the early hours of the morning. Water entered my home, as well as rocks and leaves that had flown off my neighbours’ homes. Electricity has been down from last night and we’ve been unable to make calls.

“When I went outside, there was water everywhere, up to my knees, and trees, electrical wires, roof tiles and fences all destroyed, strewn about on the streets. Thank God it has stopped raining. I never thought I would be afraid of water, but this was horrible,” he said.

Antonio Beleza, of Mozambique’s National Institute for Disaster Management and Reduction, said more than 1,000 houses had been destroyed and 3,000 badly damaged in the Beira area.

On Sunday morning, the weather service reported these rainfall amounts from midnight until 8.20am (preliminary data):

Limpopo

  • Giyani — 76mm;
  • Tshivhase — 103mm;
  • Tshanowa — 129mm;
  • Thohoyandou -63mm;
  • Hoedspruit — 56mm;
  • Levubu — 76mm.

Mpumalanga

  • Bourkes AWS — 57mm;
  • Skukuza — 51mm;
  • Nelspruit — 28mm.

“More rainfall is still expected for the eastern parts of Mpumalanga (Ehlanzeni district municipalities) and northern KZN (Zululand and Umkhanyakude district municipalities) evening into tomorrow,” the bureau said. 

The worst is over, but SA should remain cautious – SA Weather Service

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