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While the tropical cyclone Eloise has weakened significantly after hitting Beira, Mozambique over the weekend, her effects are still being felt in South Africa…

“This system has left an extensive trail of destruction along its path over Mozambique as well as the north-eastern parts of South Africa and ultimately being downgraded to an Overland Tropical Depression,” said a media statement from the South African Weather Service (SAWS).

The system is expected to bring thundershowers to the Free State, North-West province and the north-eastern half of the Northern Cape on Tuesday afternoon and onwards into the weekend.

Cold front predicted

“A cold front will slip past the country during Wednesday, 27 January 2021,” according to SAWS.

“The arrival of the cold front will herald a linkage of weather systems, between the tropics and the extra-tropical regions. Such a juxtaposition of weather systems can typically be expected to contribute towards heavy rainfall over the central interior as the weather system moves from west to east and this case will be no exception.”

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Significant rainfall expected in parts of SA

The service predicts significant rainfall over the eastern parts of the Northern Cape, western parts of both the North-West Province and the Free State.

“It is anticipated that this rainfall, associated with a broad band of showers and thundershowers will move slightly eastwards by Thursday, 28 January 2021. This will likely contribute to a drier day for the eastern parts of the Northern Cape, with the possible exception of the extreme north-eastern parts of last-mentioned region.”

Figure 2: Unified Model SA4 accumulated rainfall amounts (mm) from 26 until 27 January 2021. Source: SA Weather Service.

Major flooding concern

“Due to the recent normal to above normal rainfall that was experienced over the central interior, the soil moisture is still saturated in places, especially in the Free State along the N1 highway. Therefore, the biggest concern is flooding as well as loss or degradation of agricultural plantings due to excessive rainfall.”

Daytime temperatures (refer Figure 3) are also expected to be cooler this week which will contribute to a lower evaporation rate.

Figure 3: Unified Model SA4 maximum temperatures expected for South Africa from 26 until 28 January 2021. Source SA Weather Service.

How to stay safe during floods and bad weather:

King Price’s partner of client experience, Wynand van Vuuren, has offered the following tips to help stay safe during bad weather.

According to Van Vuuren, Eloise has already caused an increase in the number of accidents reported in affected areas.

Here’s how to reduce your risk and exposure:

How to stay safe in a storm
Copyright : alphaspirit (123rf.com)

Know when storms are on the way

Staying up to date with the latest weather forecast has never been easier: Simply turn on your weather app notifications before planning a trip. Or stay tuned to the weather reports on the radio or TV. “Then try and stay off the roads, if at all possible. Driving in a storm is risky, and no fun,” says Van Vuuren.

Avoid flooded areas

Take precautions before, during, and after a flood. Never drive through floodwater, even if it looks relatively shallow. The strength of the current can be deceptive.

Park your car under cover

The simplest way to avoid storm damage is to park your car in your garage, or under a carport. If you don’t have covered parking, you can use a car cover, or even a blanket, to minimise damage and protect your car’s most exposed surfaces, like the windscreen and bonnet.

Find a safe place if you’re caught in a storm

If a storm starts when you’re on the road, stay calm, and use your GPS to get you to the nearest sheltered spot as quickly as possible, like a petrol station. “Under a tree isn’t safe place, as falling branches and debris can damage your car. And stopping under a bridge on the highway in the middle of a storm is neither safe nor advisable,” says Van Vuuren.

Make sure your wipers and brakes are in top condition

In case you’re caught in a storm and there’s nowhere to go, your best defence is proactive preparation. Get your wipers checked before rainy season starts, and use water repellent for your windscreen, to make sure your visibility is as clear as possible while you’re on the road. It goes without saying that your brakes should always be in tip-top condition.

Check your tyres

Thousands of accidents happen each year because of wet roads, and your preparation starts with your tyres. The minimum legal tread depth is 1mm but, to be safe, you should replace your tyres long before this. Also check that your tyres are inflated to the correct pressure, especially if your car hasn’t been driven for a while.

Don’t skimp on your insurance

Comprehensive insurance can help cover expenses related to storm damages. “In short: prevention is better than cure. But when rainy weather hits, make sure you’re covered, one way or another! Be safe out there,” says Van Vuuren.

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