What to do when facing a flash flood

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Cii Radio| Ayesha Ismail| 11 November 2016| 10 Safar 1438

City of Tshwane MMC for infrastructure Darryl Moss on Thursday urged motorists to be vigilant following an extreme weather alert by the South African Weather Service for the weekend.

Moss called for calm amid heavy rains and threats of flash flooding from Thursday through the weekend across Gauteng, including the City of Tshwane.

He said the Tshwane emergency services put out a warning for expected heavy rains after the weather service informed disaster management structures that there was a high likelihood of widespread heavy rains and thunderstorms over Gauteng from Thursday.

“While the city has the necessary infrastructure to mitigate some of the effects of these downpours, it is a reality that our city’s infrastructure cannot entirely prevent flash floods from occurring on the roads and in our homes.”

Heavy rains swept through parts of Gauteng on Wednesday.
Several people were unaccounted by late Wednesday and Moss on Thursday said four people had died.

The boundary wall of the Johannesburg Zoo had also collapsed.

“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,” said Moss.

The city also said thunderstorms had caused power outages in various parts of Tshwane on Thursday and technicians were working to restore the power supply in affected areas.

What to do when facing a flash flood:

• Do not drive through a flooded road or bridge.
• If you are stranded in a tree or building don’t leave it to enter the flood waters to wait for rescue services.
• Be very aware of your car’s limitations. If you drive through water that is 15cm deep or more your car could lose control and stall. Furthermore, 30cm of water is enough to float most cars and 60cm of rushing water can indeed carry away cars, SUVs and bakkies included.
• 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 nearest 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 come upon moving water do not walk into it.
• Try and avoid contact with any flood waters. The water may be contaminated with raw sewerage, oil or petrol and may also be charged with electricity from fallen power lines.
• Do not camp or park your car along rivers or washes, especially during heavy rains or thunderstorms.
• People living in low-lying areas must take special care during storms as sudden floods might affect them.
• Residents of areas next to rivers and streams must evacuate to a safer place or higher ground when the water level rises.
• Never try to walk, swim or drive in swift-flowing water even if the water is 15cm deep, it can wash you or your car away.
• Do not try to drive over a low-water bridge if water is flowing strongly across it.
• Do not let your children swim in rivers, streams and ponds in open areas.
• Keep your important documents in water-resistant containers.

Source – News 24