How to stay safe when Cyclone Dineo hits

How to stay safe when Cyclone Dineo hits

Residents of Mpumalanga, Limpopo and northern KwaZulu-Natal are bracing themselves for heavy rain which is expected to hit South Africa a few hours after Cyclone Dineo makes landfall in Mozambique this evening.

Bevhula floods 1
Photo: Bishop Baloyi

Dialdirect is urging those who live in the affected areas to take care and stay safe.  

Head of Dialdirect, Warwick Scott-Rodger, offers the following tips to keep in mind:

Heavy rain:

- Try to make arrangements to park your car undercover.

- Delay travelling until the storm has subsided.

- If you are caught in a heavy storm, look for cover. This could include a covered car park, a petrol station or under a bridge. 

- Take extreme care when pulling-over, put on your hazard lights, and don't risk your safety or the safety of others by dashing madly for cover. 

- Don't park under trees as there is a danger of falling branches and debris. 

- Stay in your car and only leave the safety of your sheltered spot when the storm has passed.

- If you're on the road and visibility is too poor or the road is too slippery, rather pull over and switch on your car's hazards until visibility or traction improves.

- Make sure that any dead and rotting branches are removed from trees to avoid the risk of falling debris during a severe storm.

- Ensure that debris is removed from roofs and gutters.

- Make sure that your outdoor furniture is safely stored or firmly secured. 

- A power surge of a lightning strike can easily overload most appliances and devices. It's best to unplug these before the storm arrives.

ALSO READ: KNP activates disaster management ahead of Cyclone Dineo


- It is sensible to purchase your own supply of sandbags which can be placed against doorways and low level vents in times of flooding to help minimise the amount of water that enters your home.  

- Move high value items to the highest possible floor or shelf if a flood threatens.

- General and regular home maintenance, like clearing debris from gutters, is essential and will most definitely limit damages and discomfort in times of disaster.

- Turn off gas and electricity if flooding occurs.

- Motorists should not attempt to drive in flood conditions. 

- Remember that just 15cm of moving water can knock you off your feet and water just 60cm deep can sweep a vehicle away. 

- If the water is deeper than the bottom of your doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it is not advisable to drive through it. 

- Flash flooding often occurs when rivers flow over low-lying bridges.  

- Avoid crossing bridges or roads next to rivers during heavy rains. 

- If you do get stuck on a flooded road, it's best to switch to the lowest possible gear and proceed slowly. 

- If you approach a flooding storm water drain at speed, it is advisable to take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. 

- Never use the brakes suddenly because this may cause the car to skid or aquaplane. 

- If trapped in a vehicle during flooding, rather abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground. It is dangerous to try and drive out of the water to safety. 

Flash floods: What to do when the water starts rising


"Last but not least - the adage - it can never happen to me - does not apply and it is always better to be safe rather than sorry," Scott-Rodger says.

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