Eloise: Warning to stay away from flooded rivers, dams

Tuesday, January 26, 2021

The Department of Water and Sanitation has warned residents in those provinces which are likely to be affected by the Tropical Storm Eloise to stay away from rivers and dams to avoid being swept away by the strong currents.

The department said that currently the three provinces of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and KwaZulu-Natal are experiencing heavy rains after Tropical Cyclone Eloise moved from Mozambique over the weekend.

“Motorists are also warned not to try and cross flooded bridges and crossings, as this may result in fatalities. Most dams in the affected provinces are reported to be flowing heavily and the department has put its personnel on stand-by for any eventuality,” the department said in a statement on Tuesday.

The South African Weather Services has predicted that the storms will continue to bash the provinces on Tuesday and Wednesday, before abating and moving towards Zimbabwe.

“The devastating phenomenon caused extensive damage to buildings and infrastructure in Beira and Sofala provinces of Mozambique over the weekend before gravitating to Northern KwaZulu-Natal, Limpopo and Mpumalanga,” the department said.

According to the Hydrology Unit of the department, accumulated rain greater than 20 millimetres from Monday midnight, was recorded in several north-eastern parts, including Tshivhase in Venda, Giyani, Levubu, Thohoyandou, Skukuza, Tzaneen Westfalia Estates and Mbombela. 

“Others received more than 100 millimetres of rain overnight. The northern parts of KwaZulu-Natal also received heavy rains on Sunday, and these conditions are expected to continue today [Tuesday].

“This system also resulted in Gauteng and North West provinces receiving some rainfall from Sunday evening and continuing into Monday. Although Gauteng received soft rains it is not expected to have any impact at this stage,” the department said.

The Vaal Dam capacity was 75.1 % full, with an inflow of 72 cubic meters squared and an outflow of 17 cubic meters squared.

The Gariep Dam, the biggest in the country, was spilling at 103.2 %. On Sunday, its inflow was recorded at 476 cubic meters squared and the outflow at 714 cubic meters squared.

Bloemhof Dam reached a capacity of 109.2 with an inflow of 107 cubic meters squared and an outflow of 201 cubic meters squared.

“Vhembe District in Limpopo was the most affected area and five dams, namely Luphephe, Nwanedzi, Mutshedzi, Vondo and Nandoni, are spilling. Nwanedzi River is on its peak flow, and Tshamutumbu Police Station was approached to help should there be a need along the river.

“The area of Mopani was also affected but not as much as Vhembe. Four dams, namely Merensky, Magoebaskloof, Vergelegen, and Thabina, are spilling, though these are very small dams,” the department said.

With regards to Greater Letaba, the department reported that Tzaneen Dam was at 21.7% before the rain and it is now at 27%.

“There are feeder dams on the upper catchment of Tzaneen Dam and they are all spilling. These are Merensky, Magoebaskloof and Vergelegen. The two flood control dams of Doorndraai and Albasini are still lower, hence there was no need to open the sluice gates.” – SAnews.gov.za