Be prepared for tropical cyclone Dineo
You may have heard of a severe tropical cyclone, Dineo, currently off the coast of Mozambique. This means that parts of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and Northern KwaZulu-Natal will experience ripple effects in the form of heavy rains for the rest of the week. If you live in one of these affected areas and are unsure of what to do during a severe storm, we’ve got some tips to help you stay safe.
- If possible, delay travelling until the storm has subsided.
- If you are driving and visibility is too poor or the road is too slippery, look for cover - a covered car park, a petrol station or under a bridge. Take care when pulling over by putting on your hazard lights and don’t risk your safety or the safety of others when dashing for cover.
- If there is no cover close by, rather pull over and switch on your car’s hazards until visibility or traction on the road improves.
- Don’t park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and debris. Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.
- Where possible, make sure that any dead and rotting branches are removed from trees to avoid the risk of falling debris during the storm. Also, ensure that debris is removed from roofs and gutters.
- Make sure that your outdoor furniture is safely stored or firmly secured.
- The power surge of a lightning strike can easily overload appliances and devices. It’s best to unplug these before the storm arrives.
- It is sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags which can be placed against doorways and low-level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home, these should be available at your local hardware store.
- Move high-value items to the highest possible floor or shelf in your home if a flood threatens.
- General and regular home maintenance, like clearing debris from gutters, is essential and will certainly limit damages and discomfort in times of disaster.
- Turn off gas and electricity if flooding occurs.
- Motorists should not attempt to drive in flood conditions. Remember that just 15cm of moving water can knock you off your feet and water just 60cm deep can sweep your vehicle away. Generally, if the water is deeper than the bottom of your doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it is not advisable to drive through it.
- Flash flooding often occurs when rivers flow over low-lying bridges. Avoid crossing bridges or roads next to rivers during heavy rains. If you do get stuck on a flooded road, it’s best to switch to the lowest possible gear and proceed slowly. If you approach a flooding stormwater drain at speed, it is best to take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause your car to skid or aquaplane.
- If you are unable to drive your vehicle during flooding, rather abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground. It is dangerous to try and drive out of the water to safety.