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Is La Nina on the way?

According to scientists, the coming of La Nina will bring extremely wet weather and possible flooding. Is your home prepared?

Prepare yourself... The hot weather and drought-like conditions experienced recently by South Africans might soon be a thing of the past, according to scientists. With the coming of La Nina, these conditions might soon be reversed with extremely wet weather and possible flooding, even though the weather service is predicting a weak La Nina weather system.

Lower than normal rainfall and unseasonably warm weather this year has resulted in the Vaal Dam levels dropping dangerously low, necessitating the implementation of water throttling and water restrictions in many areas of the City of Johannesburg and surrounding areas.

 La Nina is the phenomenon of the cooling of sea surface temperatures in the equatorial Pacific Ocean, which in turn influences atmospheric circulation, and consequently rainfall and temperature in specific areas around the world. Hollard’s risk improvement team has been researching the risks South Africans are likely to face with the arrival of La Nina and the general agreement is that the impact will be heavy rains with a high risk of possible flooding occurring from December to February next year, an opinion ,which is in general, seconded by the majority of weather experts.

"Homeowners are urged to take immediate pro-active risk management steps to protect their homes against extremely high rainfall. If December remains accurate as the date of the impact of La Nina’s extreme weather, it is important that steps be finished in November to give protective walling and barriers time to settle," said a consultant from Hollard Broker Markets.

Flooding can have a variety of causes, including storm-water run-off accumulated in normally dry areas, or severely dry areas being unprepared for high volumes of water. Excessive rain can also cause flash floods and bodies of water like rivers, dams, streams, oceans, and canals may overflow their normal boundaries.

But, even though the fact of rainfall – extreme or not – will only slightly ease the effects of drought, excessive rain and flood-related risk management is vital and, before La Nina drops extreme wet weather on us, the following protective steps should be taken:

  • Ensure all gutters, drain pipes and drain entrances are clean and clear so that water can drain effectively. Also protect the inlet to all drains and storm water drainage against debris blockage by installing metal grates, curbs or sandbags.
  • To stop water flowing and collecting around electrical equipment, furnaces, computers and electronic switchgear, build a low protective wall.
  • Store stock, spares or items susceptible to water damage on pallets.
  • Seal any water intrusion points on floors and walls with water resistant material.
  • Provide properly designed anchorage for everything bound to float or move laterally when impacted by fast-flowing water.
  • Ensure cable trenches are covered with watertight covers to prevent them from filling with silt and debris.
  • Install water sensors and relay devices which will shut down essential electrical devices before flood damage can occur. Also make sure to test these devices before November.

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