Take care during the worst storm in 30 years
Weather forecasters are urging residents of the Western and Northern Cape to be prepared for freezing temperatures, heavy rains, snow, and gale-force winds. 1st for Women wants to help you protect yourself, your loved ones, and your valued possessions from these severe weather conditions, so we have put together a few tips:
HAIL AND SNOW:
- If you’re in an area prone to severe frost or snow, ensure that the structures around your home can handle the extra weight, and that you are equipped to clear any build-ups if necessary. Try to reinforce structures where needed.
- When hail and snow are forecast, try to make arrangements to park your car undercover and delay travelling until the storm has subsided.
- If you’re caught in a storm while driving, look for cover. This could be a covered car park, a petrol station, or under a bridge. However, please take care when pulling-over; calmly put on your hazard lights and search for cover, so you and your loved ones are not at further risk.
- 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 there is no shelter nearby, rather pull over to the side of the road if it is safe to do so. In an unsheltered spot, hail damage is inevitable, but it’s safer to avoid driving through a storm when visibility is poor, the roads are slick, and there is a risk of aquaplaning through deep pools of water and ice.
- To protect your vehicle, keep heavy blankets in your car. This will provide you with a protective covering you can throw over the bonnet to prevent hail damage.
- If you live in a flood-prone area, it’s a good idea to purchase your own supply of sandbags which can be placed against doorways and low level vents in times of flooding. This will help minimise the amount of water that enters your home. Also 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 limit damage and discomfort in times of disaster.
- Turn off gas and electricity if flooding occurs.
- Try to avoid driving 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. Generally, if the water is deeper than the bottom of your doors or the bottom third of your wheels, it’s 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, switch to the lowest possible gear and proceed slowly. If you approach a flooding storm water drain at speed, take your foot off the accelerator and let your speed drop gradually. Don’t brake suddenly as this may cause the car to skid or aquaplane.
- If you become trapped in a vehicle during flooding, rather abandon the vehicle and climb to higher ground. It is dangerous to try drive out of the water to safety.
SEVERE THUNDERSTORMS, WIND AND LIGHTNING:
- Make sure that any dead and rotting branches are removed from trees to avoid the risk of falling debris during a severe storm. Also ensure that debris is removed from roofs and gutters.
- Ensure that your outdoor furniture is safely stored or firmly secured.
- The power surge of a lightning strike can easily overload most appliances and devices, so it’s best to unplug these before the storm starts.
- If you’re driving and visibility is too poor or the road is too slippery, rather pull over and switch on your car’s hazards until visibility and traction improve.
To stay safe, we urge you to keep up to date with the latest weather forecasts and keep the above tips in mind, so you can keep yourself and your loved ones safe.
If you need to make a car or home insurance claim, you can contact us on 0861 11 18 05.