South African Weather Services has warned of possible strong, damaging winds and heavy rains in Gauteng province following flash flooding that left at least four people dead in Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni on Wednesday afternoon.
A climatologist at SA Weather Services, Wayne Venter, said on Thursday that the rains were a typical summer event, and warned of continuing possible heavy rains.
This comes after a heavy storm on Wednesday wreaked havoc – various parts of Johannesburg were heavily flooded causing traffic congestion on major highways and leaving motorists and commuters stranded for hours.
The flash floods affected areas mostly around Johannesburg and Ekurhuleni, leaving a number of vehicles trapped near Linksfield on the N3 highway and around the Gillooly’s interchange.
Flooding was reported in other areas like Alexandra township, Midrand, Edenvale and Bedfordview.
A number of cars were washed off the roads and down embankments, and were completely submerged in the flood water.
The R55 Juskei bridge collapsed under heavy flooding and the boundary wall at Joburg Zoo also collapsed.
At least four people were confirmed dead by emergency services and the Gauteng government.
Gauteng government spokesperson Thabo Masebe said they would do everything possible to clear the affected roads.
“The Gauteng government has activated the Johannesburg Disaster Management Centre to coordinate government efforts to investigate the extent of damage and the any need for assistance. The team is looking at houses and informal settlements that have been affected,” Masebe said in a statement.
Gauteng acting Premier Paul Mashatile will also visit areas that were affected by flash floods to assess the damage caused.
The Joburg Disaster Management Centre was activated by Mashatile, in his capacity as acting premier.
“Special attention will be given to areas like Alexandra township particularly the areas along Jukskei river. The Centre will work with all government departments who will be identified to support affected people.”
Commuters were also trapped at Kaalfontein and Germiston train stations as railway tracks were flooded.
Metrorail spokeswoman Lillian Mofokeng said train services between Germiston and Kaalfontein were disrupted due to flooded railway tracks.
“Alternative transport arrangements in the form of buses cannot be effected due to flooded roads around the Ekurhuleni area,” Mofokeng said in a statement.
Mofokeng apologised for the inconvenience caused and said the Perway technical team was on site assessing the impact on the tracks.
Flights at OR Tambo International Airport in Kempton Park had to be delayed and diverted to Lanseria Airport as some parking areas were also flooded.
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