Hail storms can leave devastating damage in their wake. The best way to deal with a hail storm is to know when one is approaching.
You can get weather updates using apps, listening to the radio and by checking the South African Weather Service (SAWS), which will keep you up to date with the weather to ensure you are not caught in an unexpected hailstorm.
Hail can cause billions of rands of damage to structures, crops and livestock.
How to protect yourself from hail
Hail tips when driving
- The best protection for your car is under cover, but this is not always possible. Stay calm and look for cover, such as at a petrol station or a bridge. Be careful when pulling over; don’t put yourself or others at risk by making a mad dash for shelter.
- Don’t park under trees as there is the danger of falling branches and debris.
- If there’s no shelter close by, pull over on to the side of the road if it is safe to do so. Hail causes more damage to moving vehicles. You also don’t want to be driving in poor visibility or on slick roads.
- Keep your radio on and follow weather updates closely to reduce the risk of being caught in heavy rains and storms.
- If there is no undercover parking area to protect your car, put thick blankets on your car to help minimise the impact of hailstones and reduce the need for car dent repair.
Hail tips at home
- Maintain your trees by removing branches and taking out trees that could fall on your home during a hailstorm. Falling trees and blowing debris often cause fatalities and severe structural damage.
- Check the downpipes and make sure they are not blocked so water can flow through. Watch for large pools of water as this can damage the foundation of the house
- Keep the curtains or blinds closed – this will prevent broken window glass and hail stones from entering your home or injuring you or your family.
- If your home doesn’t have a garage, cover your car with any unused blankets, comforters or large towels that you may have.
- Keep the gutters clean – It is important to regularly clear gutters of leaves, twigs and any other debris. Hail takes a while to melt and an overflowing gutter could lead to a leaking roof and further damage.
Hail tips for your garden
If you have patio furniture or expensive outdoor equipment like portable braais, bring them inside or move them to a sheltered area on your patio. Your fragile plants will also need a little extra attention to make sure they survive the hailstorm. There are ways to protect them:
- Plant extra soil around them to help keep them upright and stop the soil from washing away.
- Place heavy objects like pots and even garbage bins over them before the storm hits, and add extra weight by placing bricks on top to weigh them down.
- Cover plants with plastic sheeting by placing stakes in the ground and draping the sheeting over them, securing the sheeting to the stakes.
Hail tips for your pets
Bring your pets inside. If you can’t make sure they have a safe, dry, covered area to take shelter. Should your pet be afraid of noise and storms, it is vital that they are brought in.
Call for help
In case of emergency:
- Life Threatening Ekurhuleni Emergency Line: 011 458 0911
- National Toll-Free Number: 10177
- Cell Phone: 112