Marizka Coetzer
Journalist
3 minute read
4 Feb 2021
6:01 am

Heavy rains not stopping any time soon

Marizka Coetzer

Rain expected to spread to parts of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and the Free State on Thursday.

A view of the overflowing Hans Merenskydam that has been spilling over after heavy rains following cyclone Eloise making landfall in Mozambique, 24 January 2021, Limpopo. Picture: Jacques Nelles

South African Weather Service forecaster Tokelo Chiloane said heavier prolonged rain and thunderstorms were predicted for the next few days.

“The Free State experienced a lot of rain the past 24 hours and it will continue for the next two days, with an 80% chance of rain expected.”

Chiloane said rain was expected to spread to parts of Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, the Eastern Cape and the Free State on Thursday.

“We are expecting more thunderstorms for the rest of the week compared to the constant rain we recently experienced,” he said.

PICS: Parts of SA under water, with much more rain to come into the weekend

Chihloane said in the 24 hours from Tuesday to Wednesday, North West recorded 80mm of rain while the Free State recorded 66mm and Vereeniging 27mm. Johannesburg had less.

Some parts of the Free State have been dry for so long that boats at the Vaal Marina could only be put back into the water for the first time in almost two years this past week.

Kathy Mante, an owner at Matte Marina on the Vaal Dam at Deneysville in the Free state since 1975, said they were grateful for the rain in the past few days.

However, Mante said they were preparing for floods should the Vaal Dam reach its 105% capacity.

“The water is currently coming into the Vaal Dam at 1,000 cubic meters per second and the dam was at 82.4% [yesterday] morning,” she said.

Mante said the surrounding dams where the water would usually flow to when the slices were opened were currently full, hence they anticipated a flood when the slices do open.

“We are elated by the rain. It has been a lovely rainy season. The previous year it would only rain a little then followed the extreme heat and drought,” she said.

“In December we didn’t have boats in the dock. The water was still too low. It only started raining regularly about a week ago.”

Mante said when the dam levels got as low as they have recently been – below 50% – they have to take the boats out of the dock.

“In 2019 during the drought, the water level dropped to under 30% and we had to take out most of the boats.”

Mante said in December last year it started raining but the dam level never rose above 50%.

“In 2020 the drought continued. Besides the Covid-19 relations prohibiting the boats from sailing, the low water levels also contributed to the already fragile boat industry.”

READ MORE: Celebration as Vaal Dam now 82.4% full

She also said the Vaal Dam had been so low for the past few years they could not remember when last their water
was supplied from the dam.

Mitchell Krog from AfriWX Weather said there was an increase in the rain recorded this season compared to previous years.

The Bronkhorstspruit area has already recorded 127mm of rain for January, while Johannesburg only recorded 85mm and 185mm was recorded in the Pretoria/Proefplaas area.

Bertus van der Westhuizen, chairperson of Transvaalse Landbou-unie, has welcomed the recent heavy rains.

“Last year, we struggled due to the drought. The harvest wasn’t what it should be,” he said. “A wet harvest is better than a dry harvest.”

– marizkac@citizen.co.za

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