21/06/2021

Heavy storms may affect SA electricity infrastructure, roads, bridges including informal settlements

SA is bracing itself for a heavy disruptive storm: File Pic.

The current severe tropical storm Eloise in the central part of the Mozambique Channel, moving southwest at a moderate speed of 22 km / h, has increased its driving force in the last 24 hours given the warm seawater provides an abundant source of energy.

After the landfall, we expect Eloise to continue on a straight line and path, taking it overland through southern Mozambique as the weakens on Sunday 24 January 2021.

Meteorological Service warned that northeastern South Africa can predict the onset of heavy tropical rain, along the separate and spherical Limpopo and Mpumalanga regions, and the northern Limpopo.

The northern part of KwaZulu-Natal is expected to see heavy rain on Sunday.

The South African Weather Service (SAWS) has issued a warning over the weekend, cautioning of the interruptive rainfall in some parts of eastern Mpumalanga and Limpopo Provinces.

Heavy rains and storms will hit most of Mpumalanga Province, where most of our power stations are located, and may reach Lephalale, where two other large power stations are located.

Eskom said these power stations have received warnings and have begun preparations to carry out “wet coal” emergency plans.

“Four consecutive days or less of heavy rain will not pose a major threat to power plants operations, but continuous heavy rain for over four consecutive days will hinder the coal processing of the power plant and the coal mines that supply it,” said Eskom.

In a statement on Friday, the Power Utility said it is working with the National Disaster Management and Provincial Disaster Management Centres in Limpopo, Mpumalanga, and KwaZulu-Natal provinces.

“We have placed extra staff to attend to faults as quickly as possible, and we ask consumers to exercise patience when they have outages as the safety of our staff is paramount.

Eskom is requesting customers to treat electricity infrastructure as live and to report any fallen lines or pylons.

“While we ask the public to use electricity sparingly during the storm to avoid unnecessary pressure on the system, we urge the public to be cautious of exposed cables, overhead or low-hanging power cables because of the stormy weather, vandalism and illegal connections.”

SAWS said it expects these conditions to continue into Monday.

In terms of the effects of heavy rain: “there is a severe risk for disruptive rain associated with widespread flooding and flood-related damage of infrastructure including housing, roads, and bridges over the aforementioned areas.”

SAWS expect the heaviest rains during Sunday and Monday, there will still be rain on Tuesday and Wednesday, albeit much lighter, which can cause further flooding as the ground already full of moisture.

“We expect that strong surface winds circulating clockwise around Overland Tropical Depression “Eloise” will cause south-easterly to easterly gale-force winds of the order of 35 to 40 knots (approaching 80 km/h), over northern Limpopo during Sunday 24 January 24, 2021.”

Hence a warning of a significant risk of damaging winds has also been issued by SAWS. Note too that these regions rarely experience such winds, consequently, it can be expected that numerous trees could be toppled, while informal houses and structures may similarly be damaged.

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