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KwaZulu-Natal
Dec 13 2012 10:03AM
 
Brace for bad weather
SNOW BALLS: A devastating hailstorm recently extensively damaged property in the Ladysmith area.
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Chris Makhaye

Holidaymakers who will be making their way to KwaZulu-Natal beaches in the next few days and weeks have been warned to be extra careful as the dangerous sea conditions are set to continue due to recent storms and the spring tide which begins today.

KwaZulu-Natal was battered by a severe hailstorm and torrential rains in the past few days.

This resulted in the death of at least 13 people and the destruction of thousands of houses, roads and other infrastructure. Vehicles also suffered massive damage, especially in Ladysmith during a hailstorm on Sunday. The size of the hailstones was believed to be as big as tennis balls.

By yesterday the province was still busy with mop up operations and the cost of the damage of the past three days had not yet been established although it’s believed to run into the millions.

KZN beaches often receive throngs of local, inland and even overseas holidaymakers during the festive season.

It is against the background that the Lifesaving SA has issued a strong warning for people to be extra careful of where they swim.

“The recent storms have resulted in dirty water and a lot of debris going into the sea, making it more dangerous to swim. This is made worse by the spring tide which will last for a few days,” said James Ross, spokesperson for Lifesaving South Africa.

“The spring tide causes side and back washes and this could mean people are pulled into the water.

We are warning the public to swim only where there are lifeguards,” he said.

He also assured beach goers that lifeguards would be out in full force during the festive season.

Mike Jackson, spokesperson for the hospitality federation, Fedhasa, said the recent storms have not affected hotel bookings or bookings into other forms of accommodation.

“Some of the hotels, especially in the Durban and Umhlanga region, are booked between 80% and 100% and therefore we are looking forward to a bumper season. Although we have had stormy weather and warnings about more to come, this has not affected us at all because no one has cancelled bookings,” he said.

He said the federation fully supported Lifesaving SA and the warning issued to bathers because “it is their duty to do so and they are right to issue such warnings to save lives.”

chrism@thenewage.co.za

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