Early warning of heavy rains and flash floods over Gauteng

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The Tshwane Emergency Services would like to give out an early warning about expected heavy rain with flash floods from today until the weekend. The South African Weather Service has informed disaster management structures that there is a high likelihood of widespread heavy rains and thunderstorms over Gauteng from today.

As a result, rivers and streams might flow strongly and the danger of flash flooding should be kept in mind. Heavy rains have been experienced over parts of Gauteng earlier this week and rivers in these areas are already running high. Of late, four people died after a cloud burst at Midrand and OR Tambo, flooding the freeway at the Linksfield off-ramp. Massive water accumulated at low-lying areas of the freeway and many cars were caught up unexpectedly and covered with water up to their roofs.

Would you know what to do if you were trapped in a flash flood?

Keep calm and think swiftly.

If you’re caught in a flash flood, do not drive through or over a flooded road or bridge. Turn back and try a higher route and don’t stay in the flooded area.
If your vehicle is surrounded by water, get out and seek higher ground.
If you are stranded in a tree or building, don’t leave it to enter the flood water. Make alarm and wait for rescuers.

What to do when facing a flash flood

Be very aware of your car’s limitations. If you drive through water that is 15 cm deep or more, your car could lose control and stall. Furthermore, 30 cm of water is enough to float most cars, and 60 cm of rushing water can indeed carry away cars, SUVs and pick-ups.

Do not panic if your car becomes submerged by flood waters. Release your seat belt, roll down your window and get out of the car. If your windows won’t open, let the car fill with water. Once that happens, you will be able to open the doors. Get out of the car immediately and swim to the surface. Do not stay in the car until it sinks.
If you are swept away in fast-moving water, try to make sure your feet are pointed downstream.
If you are swept away, make every effort to direct your body over obstacles rather than under them.
If you are on foot, be aware that you can be knocked down by just 15cm of moving water. If you come upon moving water, do not walk into it.
If you can, try to avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewage, oil or gasoline, and may also be charged with electricity from down power lines.
Be especially vigilant at night, when it is harder to recognise potentially deadly road hazards.
Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.
Stay informed. Tune into your local radio station during bad weather.
If a flash flood is issued for your area, get to higher ground immediately. You may only have a few seconds before the danger is unavoidable.

Precautions:

People living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms, as sudden floods might affect them.
Residents living next to rivers and streams must evacuate to a safer place or higher spot when the water level rises.
Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water; even if the water is 15 cm deep, it can sweep you off.
Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it.
Teach your children not to swim in rivers, streams and ponds in open areas.
Keep your important documents in a water-resistant container.
Have emergency numbers at hand.

EMERGENCY NUMBERS

10177
012 310 6300/6400

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