Durban — Experts have warned residents of KwaZulu-Natal to brace themselves for more extreme weather conditions in the days to come.
According to forecaster Wisani Maluleke from the South African Weather Service, 30% rainfall is expected today (Sunday) over most parts of the province and 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms on Monday afternoon from the interior moving along the coast.
Meanwhile, a 30% chance of thunderstorm activity is expected to develop over the province on Tuesday as well, and there is a 30% chance of showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday.
He said temperatures were expected to rise.
“We are still expecting temperatures to be high over most parts of KZN. Over the interior you will see temperatures reaching around 33-34 degrees, or even more.
“So we are still expecting high temperatures over most parts of KZN, especially over the interior of the province,” said Maluleke.
He noted the sudden increase in temperatures in the weather patterns.
“We have noted in recent times that the weather pattern seems to be changing and some of the things happening might be related to climate change.
“However, we also know that in summer, temperatures are expected to be high but in this summer, temperatures are expected to be higher than normal – and even our climate forecast is showing that we are expecting higher-than-normal temperatures in the region of KZN,” said Maluleke.
He said the situation with El Niño would contribute to the higher temperatures and result in drier conditions with less rainfall.
Meanwhile, Department of Cooperative Governance and Traditional Affairs spokesperson Siboniso Mngadi said their Disaster Management Centre urged residents to exercise caution and take preventative measures amid the heatwave currently being experienced in several areas.
Mngadi noted that the South African Weather Service had issued warnings of persistently high temperatures in the various provinces.
“While the heatwave in itself may not be classified as a disaster, certain factors can escalate the situation to critical levels, warranting a disaster response,” he said.
Mngadi said their statistics indicated that two people were struck by lightning last month in Nquthu and Inkosi Langalibalele in Estcourt, and died as a result.
“The recent incident involving the third-year student from Mangosuthu University of Technology (MUT) brought the stats to three people who have died after being struck by lightning, but in total nine people have died in the province due to severe weather conditions,” he said.
Mngadi said the department was working with the national disaster management centre on proactive plans including issuing early warning alerts as information was received from SAWS.
Mpumezi Mndwetya, the MUT student died last week after suffering severe burns.
According to Dr Thembi Kweyama from the office of the dean of students at MUT, Mndwetya succumbed to his injuries following the severe lightning storm that was experienced on Friday last week.
“The storm resulted in a fire affecting some of the rooms on the 3rd floor of Craiglee, an external university residence in Glenwood.
“Sadly, Mr Mndwetya was asleep in his room when it was struck by a bolt of lightning,” she said.