DISASTER management teams have began with mop up operations following severe storms that struck KZN last night and left a trail of damage.

This after strong winds and heavy rains hit the province.

Cars and houses were left damaged.

The KZN Department of Co-operative Governance and Traditional Affairs released a statement where it revealed that it received reports of incidents that are being responded to by the teams.

MEC Sipho Hlomuka said on Wednesday that the department issued a warning in which it referred to reports from the South African Weather Service that severe weather conditions could strike large parts of the province.

He said the weather forecast indicated the possibility of hail, severe thunderstorms, strong winds and heavy rains.

“The department can now confirm that in the late afternoon on Wednesday, a hailstorm hit parts of Pietermaritzburg and the Midlands where several houses were damaged,” he said.

The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg dur
The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg during the storm. Photo: Supplied.

He said the storm also caused blackouts in a number of suburbs and technicians from the municipality were working to restore the grid.

“In Umlazi F section, a woman is believed to have been swept away when crossing the local river. She was apparently part of a group of three people who were crossing the Umlazi River when they lost their footing and were overcome by the gushing water,” said Hlomuka.

He said two of them were able to make their way to safety while the woman still remains unaccounted for.

“In Umuziwabantu Local Municipality, a 10-year-old boy was rushed to hospital after he was struck by lightning,” he said.

Hlomuka said in a separate incident, strong winds and heavy rains damaged several households in the area.

The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg dur
The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg during the storm. Photo: Supplied.

“Disaster management teams are still assessing the extent of the damages and an update will be issued to the media soon,” he said.

Hlomuka has appealed to residents to continue being vigilant as severe weather conditions continue to pose a threat to communities in the province.

The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg dur
The cars that were damaged in Pietermaritzburg during the storm. Photo: Supplied.

“The latest warning from the South African Weather Service indicates that severe thunderstorms are expected to hit the Abaqulusi, Danhausser, Dumbe, Madlangeni, Ndumeni, Newcastle, Nongoma, Nquthu, Ulundi and Phogolo this afternoon going into the evening,” he said.

He said these weather conditions are expected to cause localised flooding, hail, and lightning strikes.

Residents in areas that could be affected are urged to exercise caution.

Resident Nonhlanha Mthabela (45) said when the storm began she made sure she and her children were inside the house in order to be safe.

“I’m glad no one has died so far. I hope the storm ends soon before there’s more damage,” she said.