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Weather service warns of increased risk of flooding, forecasts more rain

Residents in areas including Orlando and Kliptown, in Soweto, and Alexandra are feared to have been left destitute as their homes have also been flooded.

The weather service issued a warning for heavy downpours and "localised flooding" in parts of Gauteng, Free State, North West, and KwaZulu-Natal on Saturday, 8 February 2020. Picture: Twitter/SA Weather Service

JOHANNESBURG –Heavy rains and severe thunderstorms have inundated parts of Gauteng, leading to flooding, road closures and even accidents on Johannesburg's roads

Residents in areas including Orlando and Kliptown, in Soweto, and Alexandra are feared to have been left destitute as their homes have also been flooded.

Images and videos shared online show some walls broken down, roads completely flooded and trees uprooted.
The heavy rains and severe thunderstorms are expected to persist in most parts of country on Saturday.

The weather service issued a warning for heavy downpours and "localised flooding" in parts of Gauteng, Free State, North West, and KwaZulu-Natal.

Torrential rain across Johannesburg have been flooding roads since the early hours of Saturday morning.

The weather service has urged residents to avoid low-lying areas.

Forecaster Mbavhi Maliage said, “we have issued out a warning of flooding in places around Gauteng. Earlier on it was places in Ekurhuleni as well as the City of Johannesburg, but we are expecting more thunderstorms to develop and move over the rest of Gauteng.”

JUKSKEI RIVER OVERFLOWING

While heavy rains continued to lash parts of Gauteng, some residents were forced to abandon their homes due to flooding.

Parts of Alexandra and Soweto were hardest hit by the overnight rain. Roads in the area were also closed.

The Jukskei River in Alexandra was overflowing on Saturday afternoon as heavy rains continued. Residents with houses just meters away from the river were scared their homes would be swept away.

“This place is not safe especially for children because whenever it rains our shacks are always flooded,” said one resident.

The heavy downpours caused flooding, road closures, and even accidents on some Joburg roads. As a result, traffic officials had their hands full.

“The worst that one can do is to apply one’s brakes because then there is a possibility of losing control on the wet road. We urge motorists to drive with caution in this weather,” said JMPD spokesperson Chief Superintendent Wayne Minnaar.

Emergency services said they were assisting people who were badly affected by the rains.

Meanwhile, the South African Weather Service warned that more downpours were expected.

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